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Parenting
07/27/2010
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Purchasing andPreparing Lamb:
The Basics You Need To Know
Provided by theAmerican Lamb Board
americanlamb.com


The family is coming over for a festive spring dinner but you don'twant to serve yet another casserole#133;How about Lamb? It seems soelegant, but it really is easy, especially if you are armed with thebasics.

What To Look For When Purchasing Lamb:

Lamb is widely available in grocery stores and gourmet food retailersacross the country. When shopping, look for American Lamb as ittypically yields more meat on the bone than imported lamb. Also, mostAmerican lamb is fed mixed grains and grasses giving the meat a milderflavor than its European counterparts. When shopping for a cut, lookfor meat that has a soft pink to red coloring with white marbling.

How to Store/Freeze Lamb:

Fresh lamb should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer immediatelyafter purchasing. Refrigerate fresh lamb at 40 degrees Fahrenheit orbelow. Ground lamb or stew meat should be used within 2 days. Lambchops and roasts should be used within 3 to 5 days. If you plan tofreeze lamb for long periods of time, be sure to wrap the originalpackaging with airtight freezer wrap or place in an airtight freezerbag to prevent freezer burn. To maintain optimum quality, frozen lambshould be used within 3 to 4 months.

How to Thaw Frozen Lamb:
  • In the refrigerator - oncefrozen lamb has thawed in the refrigerator, lamb roasts and chopsshould be used within 3 to 5 days and ground lamb or stew meat shouldbe used within 1 to 2 days.
  • In cold water - leave frozenlamb in its packaging, making sure it is air tight. If not, transfer itto a leak-proof bag. Keep the lamb submerged in cold water, changingthe water every 30 minutes to continue thawing. Cook lamb immediatelyafter thawing. It should not be re-frozen unless cooked first.
  • In the microwave - As withthe cold water method, when frozen lamb is thawed in the microwave, itmust be cooked immediately. It should not be re-frozen unless cookedfirst.
CookingLamb:
  • For those that don't have alot of experience cooking with lamb, determining when it is done is thebiggest challenge. An overcooked rack of lamb is an expensive mistakeand carving into an undercooked roast can be an embarrassment at adinner party. Don't rely on guesswork - a good meat thermometer willprovide reliable results. DO NOT cut into a roast or chop to checkdoneness. Use an instant read thermometer to give you a quick, accuratereading.
  • Lamb, like any cut of meat,always benefits from rest before serving - the rest allows the meat'sjuices to settle. Give thin cuts like chops five minutes before servingand allow 20 minutes before carving roasts. Keep in mind, as the meatrests, its internal temperature typically rises 5 to 10 degrees. Removelamb from cooking heat when the thermometer reads 5 to 10 degrees lessthan your desired temperature.
  • To ensure lamb remains safethroughout cooking, the USDA makes recommendations for safe cookingtemperatures.
For recipes and approximatecooking times for use in meal planning, visit americanlamb.com. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com

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Tags: Adult Child-ParentCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceDatingFamily/Relationships - Adult Child/ParentMarriageMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingRegarding Dr. LauraValues
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07/27/2010
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Pets On A Budget
by Jonni McCoy
www.miserlymoms.com


Getting a family pet can be one of the most rewarding things for a child. The pet provides companionship, entertainment and exercise. But sometimes the wrong pet for the family style and needs can be disastrous.

Many pets require a certain type of care. Some dogs, for example, require more money as well as physical interaction and attention. Without proper attention, they can start to act strangely, chewing up things and sometimes even biting or growling. Some other mammals, especially the small ones, don't demand as much and may be better suited for certain people. The smaller mammals, such as rats, rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs, are not only less demanding, but also less expensive to care for. Food can be homemade healthy items such as vegetables, grains and fruit. And vet bills are usually minimal.

How does one decide if they can afford a pet?
When deciding if you can launch into this addition to the family, don't forget to factor in the pet's love it will provide in return. This is something no one can put a price tag on. After deciding what the initial purchase fee will be, the prospective owner must look at food, vet bills, cage (if required), and any accessories that may be needed.

Another consideration is if your family is away from home much. Will pet sitting be a regular expense? A dog can cost $13,000 over it's lifetime. A third of that goes to food, and another third for the vet bills. The other third is spent on training, collars leashes, toys, etc. A cat will cost significantlyless, with small mammals, reptiles and fish trailing behind.

Vet bills can be an expense we forget to plan for. The average family spends between $100 and $350 per year on their pet. Those unexpected expenses like broken legs, etc. are just things we have to plan for.

There are ways to cut some of the routine vet expenses. Here are a few:
  • Ask around at pet stores if they host a mobile vaccine clinic in the area. These are usually 75% cheaper than a vet office visit.
  • Ask around what vet prices are. They vary greatly.
  • Practice good health and hygiene. This preventative measure can save hundreds of dollars.
  • Healthy food is one of the most important items pets need. Cheap food may not have the right amount of protein or essential oils that theyneed. Do some research on your pet's needs.
  • Get videos from the library on dental cleaning grooming, and clipping at home.
  • Get books at the library on simple home remedies for common ailments.
Food can be an overwhelming expense if you have a large and active animal, such as a dog. There are ways to get around this expense if you are creative. These have helped us in the past:
  • Buy in bulk quantities at discount pet superstores.
  • Avoid buying food from the vet. Their brands are good, but the mark upis high. Excellent quality pet food is available for less at most large pet stores.
  • Don't over feed the animal.
  • Learn to make some of their food - this is easier than you think. Most recipe are simple and can be made in bulk. That last suggestion may surprise you. When we lived in Nigeria and Pakistan we didn't have the luxury of a supermarket, or canned pet food.

    Instead, we made all of our pet's feed. It is simple, healthy and very inexpensive. It sometimes is better food than store-bought pet food.
For dog food, we boiled some meat and a bone with some rice and herbs. We would add some healthy oils (olive oil, etc.) to the mix for the dog's coat and skin.

For a cat, we chopped a few teaspoons of fish, chicken, or egg yolk and mixed it with a tablespoon of cooked rice or oats, a teaspoon of milk or sour cream and a little oil for its coat.

There are several recipe books in the library with various meals to make for pets. You can even make your own dry pet food. Whichever pet you choose, taking care of them shouldn't break the bank.

Good basic feeding and loving care should help them go a long way.

Jonni McCoy and her family live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is the author of Miserly Moms, Frugal Families - Making the Most of Your Hard-Earned Money, and Miserly Meals. You can visit her website at www.miserlymoms.com. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.

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Tags: Family/Relationships - FamilyMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingRelationshipsRelatives
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07/27/2010
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Are You Addicted toFear? Learn How Not To Be!
Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff's new book "Emotional Freedom:
Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life"
(Harmony Books, 2009)
By Judith Orloff MD
www.drjudithorloff.com


If you don't make it your business to overcome fear, you better believeit'll try to overcome you. Most people are subservient to this emotionthough they may not know it. I define fear as the emotional response todanger, perceived or real. What underscores fear in all itspermutations is the feeling that you won't be all right.

Emotional Action Step from "Emotional Freedom". Harness Your Biology toQuiet Fear.

To short-circuit fear and turn off your flight-or-flight response,you'll need to train your brain to send chemicals to counteract them.Otherwise, fear and its hormones will make you crazed. In contrast,with a calm biology it's easier to find courage by practicing thecombined techniques below to quiet your system.

To achieve immediate and longer termresults:
  • Eliminate caffeine, sugar,and other stimulants--these fuel the fight-or-flight response.
  • Avoid people who reinforceyour fear--they are biological irritants; stick close to emotionalnurturers.
  • Stay away from violentnewscasts, traffic jams, arguments, or other stress inducers.
Whenyou're in the grip of a fear-driven adrenaline rush, try these quicksolutions.
  • Use this ProgressiveRelaxation Technique: In a comfortable position, sitting or lying down,take a few deep breaths while letting your body go as limp as possible.When you're ready, begin by tightening the muscles in your toes...holdto a count of ten... then relax. Enjoy the relief of tension melting.Do the same with flexing your foot muscles, and move slowly throughyour entire body: calves, legs, stomach, back, neck, jaw, face,contracting and releasing each area.
  • Immerse yourself in hotwater to relax muscular tension as soon as possible.
These practical changes, whichallow you to take control of your body, can be tremendously effectivein restoring calm. You don't have to be passive while battered byfear. The victim mentality takes many forms. It requires courage toassume control, to say, "I'm going to be responsible for my biologicalself-care." Educating your body how to respond makes you emotionallyfreer.

About Judith Orloff MD
Judith Orloff MD is author ofthe new New York Times bestseller EmotionalFreedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform YourLife (Harmony Books, 2009) upon which this article is based. Dr.Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edgeknowledge of intuition and energy medicine. An Assistant ClinicalProfessor of Psychiatry at UCLA, she passionately believes that thefuture of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieveemotional freedom and total wellness. www.drjudithorloff.com. Permission granted for use onDrLaura.com

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Tags: Family/Relationships - FamilyMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingRelationshipsRelatives
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07/27/2010
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Five Ways to Market Using Email


There are many ways to market a home-based business. But one of the simplest ways is to use an every day business tool - email. By using these five easy tips you'll see how easily your business can grow without much effort on your part.

1. Use a Professional Signature - This is an important tip to use on every email that you send. Even your friends may not always remember your website address or business phone number and will quickly look to an old e-mail to look it up.

When preparing an email signature it's important to include Your Name, Company Name, and your Physical Address or Website Address. You may also include your phone number. Below is a sample Email signature:

Jill Hart
888-241-0990
Christian Work at Home Moms
http://www.cwahm.com

The signature is simple, easy to read and includes a link directly to my website. It is very important to include the http:// before the website address because many email programs will not link the text to your website without this (it will appear as text - not a link).

Also, make sure that you double check that you have your website correct. Often times I've found that people have their website wrong by inverting a letter or two and aren't aware of it. It cannot only lead to a loss of a sale, but it shows less professionalism on your part.

You can also use a virtual business card as your signature. You can design and purchase your own virtual business card at http://www.vistaprint.com.There is a very small cost - less than $2.00 for this professional looking virtual signature file.

2. Find a "Signature Buddy" - This is an easy and cost-free way to spread the word about your business. Ask a colleague or friend if they will "swap"a line their signature with you. You will add a line at the bottom of your signature with a link to their business and they will do the same.

Jill Hart
888-241-0990
Christian Work at Home Moms
http://www.cwahm.com

Publishing and book marketing - http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com/

The signature "swap" can be as simple as a line (as above) or as much as a 2- 3 line testimony of why you're recommending this link. You can find a permanent signature "buddy" or change it weekly or monthly.

3. Send Email Coupons - This is a great way to network using email. Send a special coupon by email that is available only for those that receive your emails. You can also extend this to a newsletter if you have one. Offer a special coupon for anyone who signs up for your newsletter!

You can send other specials by email as well - special offers, free gifts, ebooks, etc. There are many ways that you can utilize your email to bless your customers and colleagues.

4. Create a Custom Background for your Email - This is easier to do than it sounds. If you are using Microsoft Outlook or a similar program, you can find directions on creating your own custom signature online at places like http://www.mailmsg.com/outlookstationary.htm.

Custom email stationary can take a plain email and make it look professional. I include my logo and my website name in my custom background.Be sure to make the picture "light," so that it does not compete with the text of the emails you'll be sending.

5. Send Thank You Emails - In this day and age it is very acceptable to send a Thank You card via email. This is an easy way to thank customers, advertisers, and even newsletter subscribers.

You can create you own Thank You or use a program like Yahoo! Greetings.Many of these programs have free e-cards that you can send as well as a paidversion with additional designs. Another great place is Hallmark.com whereyou can get customized greeting e-cards for any occasion, free. It's a great way to remember your client's birthdays or perhaps a special day in their business.

You can even set up an auto-responder to send the Thank You automatically.There are many auto-responder programs for you to choose from and many website hosting companies will provide you with one, you'll just need to go in and set it up.

One great thing about an auto-responder is that you can set up when the email will be sent, what will "trigger" the auto-responder and what the email will say. This way, any time you receive an order, the customer receives an email immediately, even if you're not available.

One downfall to auto-responders is that they can seem impersonal. However, you can overcome this by taking the time to write a personal note to your customers and use this as the auto-responder email.

Can you see how beneficial e-mails can be for your business? When you use a professional looking signature, find a "buddy" to swap lines in your signature, personalize your email background, use auto-responders and any other items that you are able to customize, you'll never look at email the same way again. Marketing can be inexpensive and effective when you know the right ways to do it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Jill Hart is the founder of Christian Work at Home Moms, CWAHM.com. This site is dedicated to providing work at home moms with opportunities to promote their businesses while at the same time providing them spiritualencouragement and articles. Visit http://www.CWAHM.com for additionalinformation. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.

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07/27/2010
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Healthy Children forLife - Breakfast:
Setting Your Child Up for Success

By Linda Miner RNC, CHN, CMTA
www.MyHealthyBalance.com


Imagine building a housewithout a foundation. It may stay standing for awhile, buteventually it will start to shift and crack and eventuallycollapse. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast should beconsidered as important to your body as a solid foundation is to ahouse. The word breakfast literally means "breaking thefast". After you stop eating in the evening, there is usuallyabout 12 hours until you rise and eat again. Although it isimportant for your body to rest during the night, it is extremelyimportant to begin nourishing your body once you awaken. As soonas you eat, your metabolism revs up. The internal organs,including the brain, can perform their respective functions and youhave energy to begin your day. On the contrary, if you don't eat,your metabolism is not activated and the body starts to go intostarvation mode. The human body has a natural instinct topreserve itself and basic functions begin to slow down as the bodyresponds to a lack of nutrients. By not consuming breakfast, youstress your internal organs, you have trouble concentrating becausethere is no energy for your brain, and you create a body that isdestined to be obese as it learns to hold onto fat due to thisperceived famine. Therefore, eating a healthy breakfast is anextremely important habit to teach your children. So what are thebest choices for breakfast?

Start with Fruit: A great habitto instill in your children is to have fresh, whole fruit to start theday. Fruit gives you tons of energy, it's full of nutrients andenzymes for digestion and most varieties have a good amount offibre.

High Quality Carbohydrates: Itis very important at every meal to have carbohydrates andprotein. Let's start with the carbs. When it comes tobread, insist on multigrain. White bread should be considered a"treat" just like candy. My youngest daughter likes when I make"Mamp;Ms". No, not the chocolate kind. I toast up somesprouted multigrain bread. Then after buttering it, I sprinkle alittle cinnamon and evaporated cane juice (i.e. real sugar) ontop. Cinnamon is a great blood sugar stabilizer and powerfulantioxidant. Then I cut the bread into the letter "M", the firstletter of her name. Somehow this makes it taste much moredelicious.

Be Cautious with Cereals: Manypeople ask me about breakfast cereals and instant oatmeal. I amnot a fan because most are loaded with sugar, are low in protein andfibre and spike blood sugar levels. Check the glycemic index (GI)and you will see that many cereals have a higher GI and spike bloodsugar more than white sugar (http://www.glycemicindex.ca/glycemicindexfoods.pdf). You generally want to eat foods with a glycemic index rating of lessthan 55. Do not be fooled by advertising that says "wholegrain". That still usually just means one grain NOTmultigrain. You want to purchase cereals that have more than onegrain. Nature's Path (http://www.naturespath.com),Kashi (http://www.kashi.com)and Bob's Red Mill (http://www.bobsredmill.com)brands have some excellent cereals, but make sure you check thenutrition label. Look for at least 4g of protein and 3g offibre.

High Quality Protein: Next, Iwould recommend a good source of protein. Plain, low fat yogurtis great because it is loaded with protein, is an excellent source ofcalcium, has lots of good bacteria for the intestines and is easy toadd flavour to. Stir in the aforementioned fruit, some honey ormaple syrup, some chopped up nuts and a high quality granola and youhave a very satisfying breakfast. Or make a smoothie with thefruit and yogurt. In my experience, if you give them straws, kidsare more likely to drink it. It's all about making it fun. Stay away from presweetened yogurts that are loaded with sugar. One of my daughters' favorite breakfasts is what we call "string cheeseegg". I pour egg whites into a fry pan and the girls "string" thepart-skimmed mozzarella cheese over the top. I serve it rolled upand they love it. What a great blast of protein

By starting the day right, your kids will be ready to perform theirbest in school, in sports and in life.

Linda Miner is a RegisteredNutritionist specializing in Metabolic Typing. Linda works with clientsonline to help them restore their health by re-establishing balance inthe body. Through one-on-one coaching and an individualized food planbased on your unique characteristics, Linda can help you achieveOptimal Health. Learn more at www.iChange.com and
www.MyHealthyBalance.com. Permissiongranted foruse onDrLaura.com

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Tags: Parenting
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07/27/2010
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Blind Date 101:
Are You "Uncool" If You Don't Meet Over Booze?
By Connie Bennett, C.H.H.C.
www.SugarShock.com


There we were, my blind date and I, in a classy bar in one of Manhattan's chicest hotels. While the ambiance and locale were romantic, my feelings were far from that.

You see, as I sat innocently sipping my sparkling water and striving to maintain poise, grace and dignity, my date surprised me with a question that had a nasty, condescending implication.

"Don't you drink?" my companion quizzed me with a sneer.

Indeed, as my date was downing an alcoholic beverage-I think it was bourbon and water#151;his question and the tone in which he delivered it were most assuredly a "putdown."

Excuse me, I'm being condemned for opting for sparking H20?

"You've got to be kidding," I thought, as I was clearly taken aback.

The implication was by eschewing alcohol, I was being terribly "uncool."

My simple answer, "I better not, because I have a big day tomorrow," didn't seem to fly with him either.

As the evening progressed, the Drinker pressed further.

"Well, at least you have wine, right?"

Again, I replied by saying that it would be better for me to stay away from booze and keep coherent, because the next day I had a daylong life-coach training course beginning at 8:30 a.m.

On the way home, I searched through my memories. Darn, I realized, my initial instincts had been correct. Some seven years ago, when I first moved to New York, I'd met the same man! And guess what? Back then, the Drinker had the same you're-so-weird reaction when I chose sparkling water over alcohol. (How's that for embarrassing#151;but also amusing and entertaining?)

Look, I try to be open-minded when meeting new, potentially eligible men, but this booze incident really took the cake, if you'll pardon the oft-used, sugary expression.

My goal these days#151;10 years into living sugar-free (or close to it)#151;is to inspire others to vibrant health, good cheer and ultimately a juicy, sweeter life than they've had until now. (Thankfully, as attested by the thousands of e-mails I regularly receive, I am making a difference in people's lives.)

But then how do I reconcile my get-a-healthy-life mission with my need to go on blind dates#151;often for drinks or coffee#151;until Mr. Right comes along?

By being true to myself#151;no matter what the consequences or the reaction.

Yes, phooey on the booze-drinking, slightly pot-bellied, but super-successful blind date Drinker!

Frankly, I refuse to be intimidated, embarrassed or coerced into engaging in self-destructive behavior. I've spent enough years treating my body like a garbage can#151;no more! (Admittedly, though, I'm still working on my too-many late nights and my clutter woes. Hey, I'm not perfect.)

Now that my date with the Drinker is no more than a humorous memory (and fodder for a fun essay), let me share some tips to help you, too, in uncomfortable social situations.
  1. First off, be true to yourself, no matter what. In other words, wherever you are and whomever you meet, do only what feels right to you, even if it means that you'll occasionally encounter a put-down#151;either overtly stated or implied.

  2. Secondly, don't let anyone's condescending attitude corner you into behaving in a bad-for-you manner that you'll deeply regret the morning after. (I'm not making sexual innuendoes here#151;rather, I mean the next day when you step on the scale after blowing your diet or when you have a horrible headache after drinking or doing something else your body didn't like.)

  3. And finally, hang onto a vision of the types of people you'd like to meet and befriend. (Trust me#151;I will no longer meet a blind date who turns up his nose at me because I don't drink alcohol.)

For the record, here's the answer I never delivered to my condescending date: No, I do not drink alcohol anymore#151;I haven't for ten years, since kicking sugar.

Sure, I'd like to indulge in wine from time to time, but booze in my body derails me. The alcohol reacts like sugar and does me in with what can only be described as a horrific, three-day hangover. Not to mention the strange post-booze behavior (edginess, irritability, brain fog, etc.) it engenders. (Oh, and for the record, I'm not a recovering alcoholic.)

Actually, it's rather ironic that as I've become healthier, some men#151;certainly not ones I'd like to date#151;find me flat out undesirable simply because I no longer share their "babits" (bad habits)#151;drinking wine, eating sweets, smoking cigarettes or drinking coffee.

But let's face it: many women and men are just like me. They, too, have the same sort of adverse reaction to alcohol, caffeine, sugar or cigarettes. Their bodies demand that they be treated with care.

Anyhow, I don't care if my future boyfriend or friends drink in front of me#151;just as long as they don't hold it against me that I don't and can't.

Ultimately, what this "Connie-why-don't-you-drink?" attack made me realize is that I need to hang around health-minded, empowerment-oriented men and women, who respect my decision not to drink.

In other words, we healthy folks need to stick together. Or, perhaps#151;without saying anything at all#151;I can serve as a good role model to drinkers, smokers, sugar-eaters, etc.

Anyhow, I'm still not ruling out blind-date drinks in bars#151;I'll just stick to my sparking water and let the man judge me as he wishes.

But that's why I'll probably meet more compatible men when I'm out and about on the tennis courts, bike paths or jogging trails rather than in bars.

Connie Bennett, C.H.H.C. is author of the book SUGAR SHOCK! (Berkley Books). She is a certified holistic health counselor, productivity coach, journalist and former sugar addict, who quit her horrible habit 10 years ago (in 2008). These days, despite occasional pressure from a blind date or friends, Connie now shuns the sweets and "quickie carbs" she once over-consumed and therefore has more energy, greater enthusiasm and better concentration than ever before. Learn if sugar has control over you, too, by taking the quiz at www.SugarShock.com. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com

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Tags: Parenting
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07/27/2010
IconThe wedding day is fast approaching, but many details remain to be scheduled and inserted into your celebration plans. The following three important aspects of your celebration are worthy of considerable thought, planning and scheduling. More >>

Tags: DatingFamily/Relationships - ChildrenParentingRelationshipsReligionwedding
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07/17/2010
IconDad, do you ever get scared? I remember asking my father that question one evening before bedtime.  My world was scary even without the constant news of inflation and the threat of nuclear war with the now-dead Soviet Union.  I had an upcoming test for which I hadn't studied and there was a Neanderthal who made my life hell in the school hallway.  More >>

Tags: Adult Child-ParentChildrenEducationFamily/Relationships - Adult Child/ParentFatherFearMental HealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingRelationships
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06/22/2010
IconWell, ya did it again! You saved me from being a royal B****. Yesterday, while I was on my way to pick up my grandson again from school, something I do daily (best job I've ever had), you had a caller complaining that after only 4 1/2 yrs of marriage she didn't believe her and her spouse had the same "values" any longer. You broke it all down to her and finally told her she was just "whining". (You crack me up)... More >>

Tags: ParentingRead On-AirResponse To A CallValuesWomen's Point of View
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06/22/2010
IconI am a 35 year old mother and wife and my husband is 55. We have been married 9 years and for most of that I was a nagging, unloving selfish woman. It was my way or the highway. I have been changing that and let me tell you there is a HUGE difference in our marriage... More >>

Tags: Motherhood-FatherhoodParentingpregnantProper Care & Feeding of MarriageRead On-AirSAHM stay at home momThe Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage
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