Dr. Laura, America's #1 Relationship Talk Radio Host
On: SiriusXM Stars Channel 109
Call 1-800-DR LAURA (1-800-375-2872) 11am - 2pm PT
Image 01 Image 02
Simple Savings
05/07/2010
IconHow to Instill a Sense of Financial Responsibility in Your Children By A. B. Jacobs One question I hear often is #147;How far should parents go in helping their financially irresponsible grown children, especially when these offspring have children of their own to support?#148; The problem posed does not lend itself to resolution. Although the predicament may appear to deal with money#151;or the lack of it#151;it#146;s not inherently a financial dilemma. It actually goes far deeper and is the result of a lifetime of behavior that failed to be addressed a quarter century earlier. More to the point, attempting to instill principles or inculcate habits in children by their third or fourth decade on this earth will prove to be a futile exercise. It#146;s my belief that a person#146;s attitudes and values are pretty well established by the end of puberty. With that said, let me provide a few guidelines that may help you guide your offspring in more suitable directions. Instruct by Precept and Example. Whether you believe it or not, your children really pay attention what you say and do. As the first authority that normally appears, a parent becomes a model on which the child fixates. Even before verbal communication is established, parental activities provide guidelines that offspring tend instinctively to emulate. Through repetition, later supplemented with oral reinforcement, a bond of behavior develops that can become an ingrained pattern. It#146;s important to realize, however, that this input must be consistent if the lessons are to be learned. Thus, if the messages are contradictory, they will be received as mixed signals by kids. If, for example, parents proclaim the importance of living within their financial means while simultaneously indebting themselves through purchases they cannot afford, it will not go undetected by the children nor induce them to pursue habits of thrift. The only way that sound financial values can be transmitted from one generation to the next is by a systematic and continuous program that reinforces these values. Only through precept and example will sound habits be engrained. Don#146;t Encourage Unattainable Goals. Although I regard myself as an optimist, I nonetheless subscribe to the message mounted in a twelve-by-fifteen-inch frame on my wall. It is one of the many versions of Murphy#146;s Law, which reads: #147;Nothing is as easy as it looks. Everything takes longer than you expect. And if anything can go wrong#151;it will, at the worst possible moment.#148; Admittedly overstated for humor and effect, Murphy#146;s Law contains an element of truth. It reminds us that life is unpredictable and if not taken into consideration can bring devastating results. Often parental aspirations fail to keep things in perspective. Well-meaning parents, who urge their children to aim for the stars while ignoring reality, do them no service. One typical example is the encouragement given to attend a prestigious university when family funds are insufficient. Over the past several years I#146;ve fielded many a letter from these children , themselves well into parenthood and overburdened with tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid student loans. In most cases, the grandiose plans envisioned never came to pass. Whatever added luster a high-priced school is designed to impart generally proves to be illusion. Instead, two years at a community college followed by two more at a local state university, in keeping with my blueprint of college on the cheap , proves far more appropriate. The point I want to stress is that realistic and attainable goals, taking into consideration the inherent abilities and limitations of each offspring, must be the basis on which guidance is given. Despite the prevalent attitude in modern society that everyone is endowed to achieve at any level, the wise parent will recognize reality and seek to counsel the child accordingly. Don#146;t Fight Against Human Nature. We individuals are programmed to behave in certain ways. Just as night inexorably follows day, we may expect certain human actions to trigger other actions. As one example, it is now established, perhaps not unexpectedly, that if a high school student is rewarded for report card grades, with $100 for each #147;A#148; and $50 for each #147;B,#148; that the student#146;s grades will rise. The anticipated reward triggers self-interest, with a desire to collect the money as the primary motive. From the student#146;s perspective, any learning acquired that may in the long run prove beneficial is probably unimportant. What counts is cash in hand. Over the years I#146;ve witnessed a lot of strange behavior that ignored human nature. One of the more bizarre instances concerned an indolent young woman, who over many years repeatedly received instruction from her wealthy father on how to balance her checkbook. She habitually issued checks whenever she chose. If the account balance fell below zero, the bank phoned her father who deposited more money in the account. Somehow her father never understood that his instruction sessions ignored human nature; the checkbook balance held no meaning for her. So what is the purpose of this lesson? It#146;s to stress the importance of parents#146; awareness of what is important to their offspring. Human nature dictates that all actions actually have real meaning. AL JACOBS has been a professional investor for nearly four decades. His business experience ranges from real estate, mortgage, and securities investment to appraisal, civil engineering, and the operation of a private trust company. In addition to managing his investments on a day-to-day basis, he is a featured financial columnist for both online and print publications. He is the author of Nobody#146;s Fool: A Skeptic#146;s Guide to Prosperity . You may subscribe to his financial Newsletter, "On the Money Trail," at no cost or obligation, by visiting www.onthemoneytrail.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconToday#146;s Family Man "A Game Plan for Smoother Holiday Shopping" By Gregory Keer When you factor in the agonizing contemplation of finding the right item for your child or friend, the crowd's bodychecking their way through the aisles and check-out lines, and money draining from your checkbook or Visa card, you realize the experience is more bloodsport than sleigh riding. Retail statistics show that Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the season. That#146;s when most people have a moment to even think about a day in the mall and, most important, the sale prices appear. But the stress begins to build way before Turkey Day and the after-Christmas sales keep the pressure on for weeks after the actual holidays. Despite all the battle testing parenting gives you, holiday shopping always manages to throw you a curve. I am usually a last-minute shopper, but as life gets busier, I#146;ve found that thinking ahead -- if not shopping in advance -- can go a long way toward making gift-buying much easier. Before you get in the car or go online, glance over these tips for saner and more satisfying holiday shopping. Surviving Shopping with Kids Have Fun First, shopping for kids is one of life#146;s true pleasures. Buying something you worked hard to pay for and that you chose just for your child is wonderful. It#146;s also a way to live vicariously through your kids, buying things you would#146;ve liked to play with and certainly items you want to use in interacting with your kids. That being said, this is all a stressful proposition that you should plan for, so#133; Lower Stress Start early and shop at odd hours to lower the stress level And don#146;t shop hungry -- low blood sugar or high blood sugar can be dangerous (for you and the kids)! Money Isn't Everything Set a budget and perhaps a number of toys you plan to get. Remember that grandparents and friends may give gifts, so do not feel pressured to ply your child with too much. They will ignore most of their toys within days if not minutes. You might even consider giving your little one a box to play with. No joke, but kids can hide, make puppet shows, forts, and more with just a big old box. Age Appropriateness Especially for younger kids, opt for items that require children to manipulate them. Too many electronic games do stuff automatically. Children develop motor skills and cognitive skills with toys they can build, stack, and color. Toys that multitask and can be combined with other things. Imagination is key #150; cars, character sets, i.e., Rescue Heroes and Barbies. For the older kids, video and computer games are hard to avoid. Decide how much violence you want them to see in these games. Some research says these games are actually healthy, though never in large doses. Older kids tend to also like clothes, music, DVDs, and even cash to spend how they wish. With younger kids, you will shop with them, but older ones might like to get a budget and shop for themselves. Giving them money helps them focus on the task at hand and may get them in the spirit of giving. They may even do some additional chores to earn extra money. Balance What They Want with What They Should Have If you want guaranteed smiles, be sure to buy kids at least something that they asked for. On the other hand, you can select one or two things you think they should have, something education or challenging. If you#146;re really clever, you can lobby onto your child#146;s wish list if you make subtle suggestions like, #147;Your friend Jacob has a chemistry set. Isn#146;t that cool?#148; Gender Gap The gap is thinner than it used to be now that young boys will play with dolls and young girls covet baseball mitts. Even older boys are more into clothes than they used to be. Still, young boys favor trucks, superheroes, and trains while girls love dress-up clothes -- princesses are bigger than ever -- dolls, and fashion accessories. That being said, a creative purchase for boys or girls is costumes for imaginative play. Types of Stores Toy stores, video game stores, book stores, shoe stores, clothing stores, sporting goods shops. Bookstores are especially fine places to shop and not feel guilty.Think about balancing your list with items from the above kinds of stores. Fun Ways to Make Lists Stay Focused Go in with a list to limit the tantrums and negotiations. You will probably have a fair amount of repartee with your child, simply because toy stores are meant to overwhelm parents and kids with all that can be had. So don#146;t expect a pain-free experience. On the other hand, do expect to have a good time. Pay attention at birthday parties; see what kids get and like. Pay attention at playdates and other social visits. What does your child love? If they can write (or need the practice), have them write their own list. Prioritize Kids ask for things all the time. On the list, prioritize those items that they ask for more than once or twice. Written Promises Whatever your child doesn#146;t get, write the item down on a new list for their birthday or next year. This will lessen the crying and whining A Nifty Trick A Warning Try hiding some toys and pulling them out of the closet for well-timed opportunities throughout the year. Regarding toy safety, it's best to stick with box recommendations and use your good sense about potentially dangerous toys. While anxiety is an organic element of holiday shopping, these suggestions can truly help you minimize some of the big issues. The more you plan in advance, the more this experience will be about spending time with and teaching your kids a few things about the world of commerce. copy; 2005 Gregory Keer. All rights reserved. Gregory Keer is a syndicated columnist, educator, and on-air expert on fatherhood. His Family ManTM column appears in publications across the country, including L.A. Parent, Boston Parents' Paper, Metro Augusta Parent, and Sydney's Child in Australia. Keer's parenting advice is found at his online magazine, www.familymanonline.com , which is the #1 ranked site for fathers, according to Amazon#146;s Alexa ratings. In addition to writing for Parenting magazine and the Parents' Choice Foundation, Keer contributes to USA Today, Pregnancy magazine, DrLaura.com, ParentingBookmark.com, Pregnancy.org, and CanadianParents.com. Keer is also a featured guest expert on television and radio and advisor to the Cartoon Network. He and his wife are the proud parents of three sons. Keer can be reached at his Web site, www.familymanonline.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconChoose Now a Holiday of Significance #133; (and Less Stress) for Your Family by Lesley Spencer, MSc; Founder President HomeBasedWorkingMoms.com During the holiday season, time is a prized commodity and the preciousness of family is (hopefully) paramount in our minds. How is it then that we get so carried away with things that are not of lasting significance? I wonder too. Are you ready to make a change? Let#146;s tackle this now and relax sweetly into the holiday season while visions of sugarplums dance in our heads. First, take some time now to discuss with your family what you truly want out of the holiday season this year. Perhaps it is a good time to introduce or reinforce the original meaning of Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate). Maybe this is the year your family breaks the cycle of overspending and chooses a simpler holiday that involves more time with family and friends. For instance, I know one family who chooses to give three gifts to each child for Christmas representing the three wise men#146;s gifts at the birth of Christ. The other giving that is done is to those less fortunate. The focus in this family is on the original meaning of Christmas #150; the celebration of the birth of Christ and enjoying time with loved ones. Another way to get more significance out of your holiday is to create and enjoy some family traditions. Do your children look forward to certain things each holiday? A few of my children#146;s favorite holiday traditions include making a gingerbread house, baking Christmas cookies, watching Christmas movies by the fireplace and decorating our Christmas tree while drinking hot chocolate and listening to our favorite Christmas CDs. Childhood memories themselves are a precious gift to give our children. Here are some ideas in case you are looking for some new traditions to start: Go Christmas caroling with your friends or neighbors Roast chestnuts over an open fire Make Reindeer food (dry corn, glitter, bird seed) and have your children scatter it on the lawn on Christmas Eve Make Christmas ornaments to keep or give as gifts Attend church service on Christmas Eve Have everyone put on their favorite PJs and drive through town to view Christmas lights while singing (or listening to) your favorite Christmas songs. Go to a Christmas play or to a live nativity scene. In addition to family traditions, here are some other ideas of holiday significance your family can try: Adopt a needy family or elderly person to brighten their holidays. Take cookies to a nursing home and have your children sing carols. Sponsor a child in another country for the holidays and beyond at: www.compassion.com . Deliver homemade goodies with a smile to the homeless or those less fortunate. Invite single neighbors or friends to holiday activities. Work in a soup kitchen feeding the hungry. And for gift giving, celebrate less gifts and more substance with these ideas: Give coupons for free childcare to a couple that could use some time alone. Give #147;gift certificates#148; for a hot meal prepared by your family. Draw names instead of purchasing for everyone in your extended family. Give to a charity on behalf of a family member. Check out: www.charitygiftcertificates.org and www.justgive.org . Help hungry families feed themselves at: www.heifer.org Make gifts with your children such as: Frames, flowerpots, art, self-portraits, family photos and more. Visit these sites for ideas: familycrafts.about.com and www.kaboose.com Have a silly (White Elephant) gift exchange instead of buying presents. Ask everyone to bring something from home that is no longer wanted and needs a new home. (The sillier / funnier the better.) When everyone gathers, draw numbers to see who picks a gift first. Follow in order until everyone has a gift. The person whose turn it is can choose to take a gift already opened instead of choosing a wrapped gift. If so, the person whose gift was taken gets to pick a new wrapped (or open) gift. Continue until everyone has had a turn. Just remember whatever your family chooses, choose to create lasting and warm memories that you and your family will cherish for a lifetime. Our families and our time together are precious! Lesley Spencer is founder and president of the national association of Home-Based Working Moms ( www.HBWM.com ), the HBWM.com, Inc. Network of Websites and author of the Work-at-Home Workbook . She has a Master's Degree in Public Relations and has been featured in numerous media outlets including CBS News, Forbes, Business Week, Parents, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. She has been working from home for over 10 years and has two children whom she absolutely adores! Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconCool School Lunches By Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers As you know by now, all parents have a different idea of what is healthy food and what is not. For years, you have had the opportunity to hand select and monitor what your child eats for lunch. Now it is time to test their ability. It is only natural for your child's eyes to wander and notice, and be envious of, what the other kids are eating. Here are a few tips that may help your child's lunch be healthy, fun and get noticed by the other kids. The lunchbox: It is important to have the right gear and the lunchbox is an important asset. Consider letting your child pick out his own lunchbox or purchase one and let him decorate it with paint or markers. Make sure your child's name is on it with a permanent marker or paint. Most schools will not provide a refrigerator to store lunchboxes, so you should select an insulated one with a re-usable freezer pack to keep the lunch fresh. Or, instead of using a freezer pack, you can freeze a bottle of water, and add it to the lunch box. It will keep the lunch cold and fresh during morning classes and by lunch time it will have thawed and be ready to drink. More gear - containers: Those gimmicky, salt, fat and sugar-filled, "Lunchables" trays are very popular with kids. Not because they taste so good, but because look so cool. There is no reason a homemade lunch needs to look dull and unappetizing. Buy colorful containers in different shapes to pack your child#146;s lunch. They are better than plastic bags and less wasteful too. If your child is drawn to characters, buy some stickers and decorate the containers. Put your child's name on the containers, but it is inevitable that some containers may not make their way home. Another option is to purchase inexpensive or "semi" disposable containers that will not disappoint you if they accidentally end up in the trash. Offer plenty of choices: Provide small servings and many choices -- variety is a key to healthy eating. Providing your child with plenty of variety is not hard or time consuming. Many lunch foods can be prepared, in advance, in large quantities. Each morning, simply fill up small containers with different foods. Quick lunchbox food suggestions include: Dried fruit Nuts Fresh fruit pieces or a piece of whole fruit Applesauce (no sugar added) Celery sticks filled with cream cheese and raisins, or white bean dip Sugar snap peas with Ranch dressing for dipping Yogurt or a smoothie Lunch meat roll-ups with cream cheese and an asparagus in the middle Hard boiled egg Cheese cubes or string cheese logs Peanut butter (or sunflower butter) and apple slices or crackers White bean dip or hummus with carrots and mini pita breads Whole grain crackers or pretzels Trail mix made from cereal, nuts and dried fruit Talk to your child about lunchtime: Don't assume that your child's uneaten lunch is sign that he did not like the food. If you ask a few questions, you may find that your child does not have enough time to eat lunch or that he is spending more time socializing with his friends than actually chewing. Asking questions will give you the opportunity to help him learn other important skills such as managing his time and selecting times to socialize. SIMPLE LUNCH BOX RECIPES: Pineapple Kabobs Ingredients: Pineapple chunks (frac12;-inch pieces) Marble cheese cubes (frac12; inch pieces) Slices of nitrate-free ham cut into 1-inch squares Toothpicks Directions: Assemble the mini-kabobs on a toothpick in the following manner: Ham square, pineapple chunk, ham square and a cheese cube. Veggie version: Substitute teriyaki-flavored baked tofu for the ham/cheese. Baked tofu can easily be sliced into small cubes and is very tasty with the pineapple. Trail Mix Directions: Combine any or all of these ingredients in an airtight container and toss gently to mix. Store airtight. Lasts for weeks. Ingredients: Dry snacks: cereal (low in sugar #150; under 5g per serving), small pretzels, graham cracker or rice cake pieces, or animal crackers. Dried fruits: Cherries, apricots, raisins, mangoes or coconut flakes (Tip: big pieces of dried fruit can be cut up easily using kitchen shears). Nuts and seeds: sliced almonds, pecan pieces, cashew pieces, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or peanut pieces. Kiwi Wraps or rolls These wraps can be served as a traditional wrap sandwich or slice it into pieces (like a sushi roll) for bite sized treats. Ingredients: 1 tablespoon peanut butter or sunflower butter 1 tablespoon cream cheese frac12; kiwi Tortilla -- whole wheat or plain (squared) Instructions: Remove the skin from the kiwi and slice it into thin rounds. Spread peanut butter over half the wrap and cream cheese on the other half of the wrap. Arrange the kiwi slices evenly over the cream cheese. Beginning on the cream cheese end, gently roll up the tortilla forming a log shape. The peanut butter will act as the glue to keep it together. Serve. About the authors: Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers are sisters, the mothers of five children, and founders of Fresh Baby ( www.FreshBaby.com ). Raised by parents who love fresh foods and entertaining, their mom, a gourmet cook, ensured that they were well-equipped with extraordinary skills in the kitchen. Both with long track records of business success, they decided to combine their skills in the kitchen with their knowledge of healthy foods and children to create Fresh Baby. Cheryl and Joan put a modern twist on the conventional wisdom that when you make it yourself, you know it#146;s better. Their goal at Fresh Baby is to make the task of raising a healthy eater a little bit easier for all parents. Visit them online at www.FreshBaby.com and subscribe to their Fresh Ideas newsletter to get monthly ideas, tips and activities for developing your family's healthy eating habits! Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconGreat Costumes for Less! By Tawra Kellam www.LivingOnADime.com You can really come up with some cute and clever ideas for costumes, even if you don't feel particularly creative. Don't wait until the night before Halloween to start your costumes. Look at the people and things around you and ask yourself how " how can I recreate this?" Look at thrift stores and garage sales for costumes. Go ahead and buy the costume or piece of a costume if the price is right. You really can't go wrong spending $0.25 on a piece of costume. Even if it doesn'twork you haven't lost much. Costumes can be very simple and still make a big impact. For example, instead of the usual witch robes, drag out your elegant black dress and add a witch hat with a veil of spider webbing stretched over your face. Cover the spider web with plastic spiders. For a man, a nice suit and tie and a funny mask makes a good simple costume. For a couple: get a REALLY big sweatshirt, both of you get in it and be Siamese twins! Some examples of costumes for kids are: Sunflower - For the body, use a white sleeper or sweatsuit. Paint the child's face yellow, adding black spots to simulate seeds if you like. Make a flower to fit on the child's head out of felt or glue sunflowers on a white hat. Angel - Again use a white sweatsuit or long white dress for the body. Make wings out of heavy white poster board and paint the edges gold. Attach tie straps to them that go around the shoulders. You can also shape a metal clothes hanger into a wing. Make two wings, hot glue fabric around them and add straps. Pea Pod - Cut 2 small foam balls in half with an electric knife or a knife with a serrated blade. (Note: Do this BEFORE attaching them to the child!) Wrap in green fabric and pin them to the front of a greensweatsuit. Make a hat out of 2 shades of green felt and a little brown felt for a stem. Lion - Buy a yellow hat or dye a white hat yellow. Buy long brown fake fur, yellow fake fur and a yellow sweatsuit. You can get fake fur at your favorite fabric store. Add brown fur to the top of the hat (for a mane), hot-glue yellow fur into a long tail, adding a poof of brown for the end. Pin the tail on the back of the costume. Make an oval of the fur for the child's tummy and use eyeliner for whiskers. Dalmatian - Pin black felt dots onto a pair of white sweats. Paint black polka dots on the child's face. Add more polka dots to a white hat, make some black felt ears and add black shoes to finish it. I Paint, Therefor I Am - Glue a copy of a painting with a face on it on a piece of cardboard. (Ex. Mona Lisa). Cut out the face and then put their face in instead. Race Car Stroller - Decorate a stroller as a race car by adding fabric or paper racing stripes and a number. Add two flashlights for headlights, plus some reflector tape. If you want to get really creative, add a wind foil, a foil covered paper towel roller for an exhaust pipe or whatever else your clever mind conjures up. Cut asteering wheel out of cardboard for the child to hold. Your child can wear whatever clothes he wants. Just add an old helmet or baseball cap worn backwards. Think of themes for all of the kids in the family It can be fun for all the kids to dress up in costumes that complement each other. Some sample themes are - super-heros, vegetables, candy bars, rabbit family (or other animals) or cartoon characters (i.e. Mickey Mouse, Minnie and Donald Duck). They could also dress in pairslike a mouse and cheese, a plant and a watering can or doctor and patient. The sky's the limit. Christmas theme: One child could go as a present, another a Christmas tree, another Rudolph and the 4th as Santa. Ideas for how to make the costumes: Rudolph - Dye an old pair of sweats brown. Put a light brown felt tummy on the shirt, make a set of cardboard antlers and paint the child's nose red. Present - Wrap an old box that is big enough for the child to wear. Cut out the bottom of the box and make holes for the arms and head. The child can wear a turtleneck stretch pants underneath it. Christmas Tree - Cut two pieces of cardboard into the shape of a tree. Make two one for the front and one for the back. Hook them together with a piece of string over each shoulder. Paint the pieces green withlatex paint and attach old tinsel and ornaments with hot glue. Make a star head piece by gluing glitter to a cardboard cutout or use a Christmas tree angel as a head piece. Santa - Trim a pair of red sweats with white fake fur and a large black felt belt. Make a beard with more fake fur, top off with a Santa hat and add a little "Ho, Ho, Ho" for good measure. Of course if all else fails you could wrap the child head to toe in aluminum foil and send him as a frozen burrito... Tawra Kellam is the author of Dining On A Dime: Eat Better Spend Less. For more free tips and recipes visit her web site at www.LivingOnADime.com . In 5 years, Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 personal debt on an average income of $22,000 per year. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconGrocery Savings Made Easy By Tawra Kellam www.LivingOnADime.com For many people, making the decision to switch from two incomes to one can be a scary experience. They know they're spending too much, but don't know where to begin to cut back. Most people don't think they can live the frugal life and still be comfortable. I feed my family of 5 on $175 month. In 5 years my husband earned an average of $22,000 per year. In those 5 years we paid off $20,000 debt. There are countless ways you can cut, but if you are a frugal beginner, try these simple suggestions from Not Just Beans for saving on your food bill first. Before you shop, take a tour through your pantry and your refrigerator. Be organized! Don't buy what's already hiding in your kitchen. If you a fan of coupons, remember this: It#146;s not what you save, it#146;s what you spend. If you save 30 cents on something you wouldn#146;t ordinarily buy anyway, you haven#146;t really saved anything. A typical fruit item is significantly larger than one serving. Most people would be just as happy eating a small apple as eating a large one so buy smaller fruits! This month, try two meatless meals a week (or one, if you're a diehard meat fan). Use meat as an ingredient instead of a main dish. A good recipe for this is Green Chile. It uses only frac12;-1 pound of pork. Cut back on the juice and milk. Use the money you've saved from eating less meat and drinking less juice and buy something that's on sale. Those sale items will help you cut back even further next month. In staying at home, it's the little things that add up so start small! Green Chile frac12; 1 lb. pork roast, or chops cubed into small pieces 10 frac12;oz. chicken broth 1 onion, finely chopped frac14; frac12; tsp. garlic powder 1 can (7 oz.) green chiles, diced frac14;jalapeno, finely chopped 1 tsp. salt 2 Tbsp. flour, dissolved in water white flour tortillas Toppings cheddar cheese, grated lettuce, shredded tomato sour cream Simmer pork in broth on low for 10 minutes. Add all other ingredients except flour and simmer 45 minutes. Thicken with flour so it is like a thick soup. Spoon about frac14; cup into the center of a flour tortilla. Roll up tortilla and top with more green chile. Sprinkle with cheese, lettuce and tomato. Top with sour cream if desired. This green chile freezes really well. Steak and Mushroom Gravy 1 Tbsp. margarine frac12; onion, chopped 5 Tbsp. flour salt and pepper (to taste) 5 Tbsp. dry milk 2 cups water 1 2 cups leftover beef 1 small can mushroom pieces 1 tsp. beef bouillon powder Melt margarine in a large skillet and saute onion. Mix flour, salt and pepper and dry milk in a jar. Add water and shake. Stir into onions until simmering and thickened. Add beef, bouillon powder and drained mushrooms. Reduce the heat. Simmer, stirring constantly, until heated through. Serve over noodles, rice or mashed potatoes or toast. Serves 4. Tawra Kellam is the author of Dining On A Dime: Eat Better, Spend Less. For more free tips and recipes visit her web site at www.LivingOnADime.com . In 5 years, Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 personal debt on an average income of $22,000 per year. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconSome Thoughts on Schooling By A. B. Jacobs Much is made over the importance of higher education, and rightly so. Those youths whose schooling ends with a high school diploma will, throughout life, find themselves with the same opportunity as persons who marry in haste: that of repenting at leisure. Just as a secondary school diploma was the prerequisite for entreacute;e as a participant in the industrialized society of the early twentieth century, a bachelor#146;s degree from a college or university is a minimal requirement for effectively competing in the technological environment that exists today. To ignore this fact is to ignore reality. Although there is general agreement that advanced education is necessary, there is no consensus as to exactly what constitutes first rate schooling. If today#146;s institutions of higher learning share one thing in common, it is the hyperbole each exhibits in promoting itself. Scholastic reputation, whether real or perceived, is a marketing tool, and there seems no limit to the claims of excellence used to induce students to attend, alumni to endow, and prestigious educators to affiliate. Above all else, higher education is big business in every sense of the word. The result is as you might expect. Large numbers of students throughout the nation obtain their college diplomas at a huge financial cost. Whether the funds are provided by parents, many who must literally mortgage their own existence, or by students who graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, the sacrifice is often immense. While we#146;re on the subject of money, we#146;ll scrutinize a few numbers. Despite the costs of attending certain private universities, where annual tuitions, fees, room, and board, can exceed $40,000, there are many schools that are far less expensive. Here in my state, the University of California charges $5,684 tuition for resident students, the California State University system recently set its charges at $2,334, and at the bottom of the financial totem pole are the community colleges that a full-time student can attend for $780 per year. The question then becomes, how might a prospective student best select from among the many institutions? As you might guess, I harbor some opinions. Essentially I disfavor the standard methods that include recommendations of school counselors, ratings by such resources as Barron#146;s Profiles of American Colleges , or the brochures and press releases issued by each university. Instead, my approach advocates college-on-the-cheap , where the student seeks first-rate learning at the lowest cost. My blueprint calls for the first two years at a local community college followed by two years at a state university, commuting from home. Used textbooks can normally be purchased at a fraction of the cost of new ones, either from the school bookstore, or directly from a student just completing the course. This not only trims the expense, but also offers a serendipitous effect#151;the book often contains important portions underlined, and helpful comments and notations included in the margins. Furthermore, the student should spend each summer at a job, so to earn at least a portion of the year#146;s education costs. There is something about working that adds an important dimension to the learning experience. Let me acknowledge that there will be many to brand my program an outline for mediocrity. I#146;m familiar with the claims: Unless a student attends a prestigious university, the education received will be second-rate. Lord knows, the academic community has been repeating that catechism for decades, and many persons believe it to be so. The actual fact is that four years at Harvard or Princeton Universities does not impart, to a talented and dedicated student, learning that is in any way superior to the 4-year program I#146;ve outlined. Nonetheless, there will be parents who will spend unbelievable sums and deprive themselves of many things, at the risk to their own eventual retirement, so that their progeny can attend the idealized institution. No doubt many parents feel that no financial limit can be set when it comes to providing their offspring with the ultimate gift . However, a fortune spent by parents who can ill afford it, jeopardizing their own financial well-being, is money pathetically wasted. Actually, the finest gift that parents can give a child is the assurance that in later years that child will never be required to support their indigent parents. Let me offer a testimonial of sorts, reaffirming my belief that the academic source of education is far less important than the student#146;s efforts, and that neither the architectural characteristics of the campus and classrooms nor the credentials of its professors will determine the extent of learning acquired by a motivated student. My mastery of algebra in no way suffered by my classroom being a primitively lighted and ventilated Quonset hut. Similarly my grasp of partnership law is sound, despite a one-time nameless and faceless course instructor located in a post office box two thousand miles away. Admittedly, a smiling and enthusiastic professor in an elite university adds a touch of stature to the process, but the eager student who strives to learn will do so regardless of the accouterments. I#146;d like to conclude with a response to those critics who contend that a degree from an institution without an exalted reputation will forever stigmatize its holder. To you, I pose this question: Do you actually know from what schools your dentist, attorney, accountant, and physician received their bachelors#146; degrees? AL JACOBS has been a professional investor for nearly four decades. His business experience ranges from real estate, mortgage, and securities investment to appraisal, taxation, and the operation of a private trust company. In addition to managing his investments on a day-to-day basis, he is a featured financial columnist for both online and print publications. He is the author of Nobody#146;s Fool: A Skeptic#146;s Guide to Prosperity . You may subscribe to his financial Newsletter, "On the Money Trail," at no cost or obligation, by visiting www.onthemoneytrail.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconHome-Based Business vs. Second Job -- The Choice is Yours Many families today rely on two incomes to pay their bills not being able to make ends meet month to month. They face several options to secure that extra income they need, one being obtaining a part-time job and the other a home-based business. It#146;s a decision with advantages and disadvantages to each. I want to provide some suggestions to help you make the right choice. When deciding between a standard second job and a home-based business, it is important to consider the expenses incurred in both. For those considering a second job, many do not take into account the numerous extra expenses that go along with childcare, clothing, gas, etc. Crown Financial Ministries offers a worksheet online ( http://www.crown.org/Tools/mommake.asp ) to help you determine how much you will actually make once these expenses are deducted from your income. By breaking it down and seeing the guideline, you can see just how much extra you really bring home each week. A home-based business also incurs expenses, but most of your business related expenses will be at least partially tax deductible. The IRS looks favorably on home-based businesses. The more money that you save with legitimate tax deductions, the more finances you#146;ll have to increase the size of your business. This in turn creates more revenue for the IRS. A home-based business can also offer flexibility that a second job cannot. You can work from the comfort of your home #150; often in your pajamas if you choose. You can work the days you want and the hours you need. Your schedule is up to you! For example, Diana Ennen, author Virtual Assistant the Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com , states, #147;I enjoy the flexibility my home-based business provides. You can easily wake up at 5:30 a.m. to work or work until 2:00 a.m. whatever fits your personality. Many people enjoy it because they can start work after they have put the kids the bed and work a couple hours and earn extra money without having to hire a babysitter. Plus, it's all in the comfort of your own home. No costs on dry-cleaning, travel to work, gas expenses, etc., and you can't beat the one minute commute to the office!#148; Allowing your family to be a part of the business is another benefit that not many jobs can compete with and thus another positive benefit to home-based businesses. Depending on the type of home-based business you choose, there may be small jobs that your children can assist with in the daily operations. These include: Helping prepare your mailings, preparing packages if you have a direct mail company, or even answering the phone - depending on their age. Your spouse can also be a part of your business and may be able to help run the business when you are not able to be at home. Helping others be successful working from home is another great perk of being a part of a home-based business. Most home-based businesses allow you to build a team of people to work along side you. Finding other people that are interested in owning a business and then helping them succeed is satisfying and can be financially rewarding as well. There are, of course, negative aspects about working from home. The success of your business depends solely on you. You need to be determined, efficient and organized to be successful. You must take the time to work at the business or you will not see the additional income that you desire. It can be very easy to let your business slide when you are tired or feeling discouraged. However, if you are aware of these temptations, you can create a plan to overcome them when they arise. The benefits of a home-based business can many times override the work and time you must devote. When compared to the expenses occurred by taking a second job it is a great alternative. Because of the tax breaks when operating a home-based business, it is many times a more profitable option. You may not make a million, but it may allow you the freedom and income that you need to make life a little easier. Even with the disadvantages, many who work-at-home wouldn#146;t have it any other way. I hope this helps you make the right decision for you and your family. Jill Hart is the founder and editor of Christian Work at Home Moms, CWAHM.com, and the author of the e-book, The Two Week Devotional Journey for Christian Work at Home Moms. The CWAHM.com website is dedicated to providing moms with free resources to aid them in their work at home search. The site also provides current work at home moms with opportunities to promote their businesses while at the same time providing them spiritual encouragement and articles. E-mail Jill at jill@cwahm.com for additional information or stop by her site at www.cwahm.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconHomemade Baby Food: A Fresh Start to Healthy Eating By Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers Introducing solid foods is a very important step in your baby#146;s development and well-being. In fact, studies show that babies who are fed nutritious, healthy diets grow into stronger kids and better-adjusted eaters than those who are fed poor diets. Many parents don#146;t realize that making baby food at home is a simple and economical plan to provide your baby with the best in quality, nutrition and taste. It makes it easy for you to ensure your child gets the best start possible. Making baby food using fresh, all-natural ingredients has many benefits, including: Increased nutritional value Elimination of additives Improved freshness Added variety Enhanced control Lower costs Increased nutritional value Vitamins and other nutrients are critically important to your baby. For the next three years, your baby will experience rapid growth and development. It is essential that he be fed a healthy and nutritious diet to maximize his growth and development process. Processed baby foods have added water, sugars and starchy fillers. While these products are not nutritionally bad for your baby, their use in baby food dilutes the nutrient content of the actual foods. To make matters worse, processed baby foods are cooked at high temperatures to kill bacteria, so they can be stored in jars at room temperature. Bacteria are not the only things that are eliminated in this process. Vitamins and nutrients are also destroyed. Many baby food manufacturers compensate for the loss of vitamins by artificially adding some of them back in after the food is processed. When you make baby food at home, you can cook it quickly. This process not only preserves the wonderful color and taste of the food, but most importantly it maximizes the foods#146; nutrient content for your precious baby. Elimination of additives Processed baby foods contain trace amounts of chemicals, including pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved these chemicals, you may choose not to feed your baby products containing them. Buying certified organic produce (fresh or frozen) and preparing food at home eliminates agricultural chemicals from your baby#146;s diet. In addition, many varieties of processed baby foods add ingredients that are not essential or beneficial to your baby#146;s diet. These can include ingredients such sugar, butter and salt. Most healthcare professionals will recommend you avoid the introduction of these foods until your child is much older. Homemade baby food is pure, wholesome food with nothing added that you did not add yourself. Improved freshness Have you compared fresh green peas to a jar of pea baby food? Even though they are the same food, they don#146;t look, smell or taste similar. While your baby does not have the refined palate of an adult, he does respond to taste, color and smell. With the enormous availability of fresh produce in your grocery store and the simplicity of making baby food, there is really is no reason he needs to be deprived of colorful, tasty, great-smelling baby food. And serving fresh food from the very beginning will help your baby be more open to tasting new flavors and types of food. Additional variety Processed baby food is developed for the mass market and, as a result, is limited in variety. Variety is key to a balanced diet and healthy living. Today#146;s grocery stores offer a tremendous variety of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. There is no reason why your baby should be limited by what food manufacturers consider the most popular foods. What#146;s more, preparing baby food at home enables you to add herbs, combine flavors, and easily introduce new textures, making your baby#146;s mealtime a pleasurable, gourmet experience. Enhanced control As a parent, you want to understand and trust the ingredients in your baby#146;s diet. Similarly, you want assurance concerning the purity, safety, quality and consistency of such ingredients. Preparing baby food at home provides you with control of your baby#146;s diet and knowledge of exactly what goes into your baby#146;s food. The more involvement you have with what you are feeding your baby, the more likely you are to nurture healthy eating habits. Lower costs Processed baby foods are expensive. The average baby in the United States will consume 600 jars of baby food. Parents who use processed baby food spend an average of $300 or more on baby food during their infant's first year of life. Making baby food at home is extremely cost-effective, as foods may be purchased either in season or on sale. On average, baby food prepared at home can cost as little as $55 in the first year. With all these benefits, you may think that it is difficult to make baby food, but it is a lot easier to make than you may imagine. Using fresh produce, a blender and set of ice cube trays, you can make food in quantity and freeze it in single servings. This means you only need to make food once or twice a week. Bottom line, it takes about 30 minutes a week. Here is a simple and easy recipe for a common first food: SWEET POTATO PUREE 2-3 medium to large sweet potatoes Step 1: PREP - Wash, peel and chop sweet potatoes into one-inch (3 cm) cubes Step 2: COOK #150; Place sweet potatoes and 2 Tablespoons (30ml) of water in a microwave-safe dish. Cover. Cook 8-10 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. They are done if the sweet potatoes can be mashed easily with a fork. Step 3: PUREE #150; Place sweet potatoes and cooking juices into a blender of food processor. Add frac12; cup (60 ml) of water. Puree. Add additional frac14; to frac12; cup (60 #150; 100 ml) of water, as needed, to develop of smooth texture. Step 4: FREEZE #150; Spoon into So Easy Baby Food Trays or ice cube trays. Cover. Place in freezer 8-10 hours or overnight. Remove cubes from trays, place in storage container or freezer bag, and return immediately to the freezer. Makes 24 one-ounce servings. Stays fresh for 2 months in the freezer. To serve, select frozen sweet potato cubes from the freezer, defrost and warm, check the temperature and feed. About the authors: Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers are sisters, the mothers of five children, and founders of Fresh Baby ( www.FreshBaby.com ). Raised by parents who love fresh foods and entertaining, their mom, a gourmet cook, ensured that they were well-equipped with extraordinary skills in the kitchen. Both with long track records of business success, they decided to combine their skills in the kitchen with their knowledge of healthy foods and children to create Fresh Baby. Cheryl and Joan put a modern twist on the conventional wisdom that when you make it yourself, you know it#146;s better. Their goal at Fresh Baby is to make the task of raising a healthy eater a little bit easier for all parents. Fresh Baby#146;s breastfeeding accessories and baby food making supplies provide parents with practical knowledge and innovative tools to support them in introducing their children to great tasting, all-natural foods #150; easily and conveniently. Visit them online at More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
Stay Connected
or connect at a place below
Normal Gear
Latest Poll
What do you believe is the most frequent reason a married man considers cheating on his wife?
Lack of attention
Lack of sex
He's no longer in love
Sexual desires or libidos differ
He was cheated on
Archives  |  Results
Programs
About Dr. Laura
Letters
E-mail of the Day
From Listeners
Audio & Video
YouTube Videos
Stay at Home
Parenting
Relationships
Simple Savings
Work at Home
Tip of the Week
Subscription
Membership
Help & Support
Family Premium Help Center
Podcast Help
Contact Us
Legal
Terms of Use
© 2015 DrLaura.com. Take on the Day, LLC
Terms & Conditions  |  Privacy Policy
Powered By Nox Solutions