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Parenting
05/07/2010
IconSummer Vacation: Things to do When Traveling by Car By Jodie Lynn www.ParentToParent.com "Mom, Trey hit me," screamed Gabbie. "You grabbed my headphones first and popped me in the ear," shouted Trey. It#146;s one thing when kids are in the house while arguing; you can separate them and put them in their own rooms. But there, inside the car as you try to squeeze all of the different personalities into one small space, tempers are bound to flair, and flair and flair. Especially with these competitive twins. This is the time of year when families begin to plan for their vacations. Due to the uncertainty of overcrowding airplanes and high prices of tickets, when you have four or more kids, many will be taking to the roads via automobiles and need help in trying to make it a good experience. Why do vacations seem more like work than, well, vacations? Some pointers that other kind families have shared are listed below. It#146;s great because through trial and error, these parents have found that they really do work. Plan ahead and get the kids involved in the planning the trip along with a map or road atlas. Discuss what you will see and perhaps get a video of where you are going. Check out possible points of interest along the route and stop there for meals or a stretch. Kids enjoy talking into a tape recorder to "report" what is out the window or other momentary facts. Borrow great classics on tape from the library. Use cassette recorder to play "The Borrowers" and "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." Bring along a bag of distractions. Hand them out only as a last resort. Buy things ahead of time by doing shopping on a weekly basis. This will help to spread out the cost and to consider taking things back if you find something you think they might like better. Start your trip early around 3:00 a.m. so the kids will still want to sleep through the morning, make frequent stops to use the bathroom, eat light snacks, run around, stretch at the rest stops and do not let the kids drink caffeine. When traveling with twins, or any kids, get things for them to share and things just for each child. LeapFrog has all kinds of travel kits as well as those that are off brands but are just as entertaining. "Trouble-Free Travel With Children" by Vicki Lansky, (Book Peddlers, $9.95) has tons of things to do with your children as well as plenty of ideas to do before you get started to ensure it is the best one yet. The "Everything Kids Travel Activity Book," by Erik Hansen (Adams Media Corporation, $6.95) has many choices for kids in the age range of 8 to 12. Think about buying music that everyone in the car will enjoy like "The Trees of Life," by Steve Schuch, (Night Heron Music, $15.00) which is now available at www.nightheron.com and "Kids Rock #145;n Roll Party," by ROSENSHONTZ - Gary Rosen and Bill Shontz of Teddy Bears#146; Picnic - (Lightyear Entertainment, $6.95) has cool rock #145;n roll tunes from the 70#146;s in today#146;s kids#146; words and themes. "Dad, I hate to always have to sit by Aunt Martha. She kisses me too much and asks me stupid questions," says Karen. Dad looked at Karen and quietly replied, "Well, you can always sit by your twin sister." "No way, I#146;m not sitting by her! When we pick up Aunt Martha, I will just ask her to listen to my new CD for a while." Dad gave mom a knowing look like, "I told you I could keep things running smooth." Mom glanced at the clock on the dash board, gazed out the window and silently thought, "Yes, as usual, you were right honey, and I can#146;t wait to see how the other fifteen hours go." 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 www.ParentToParent.com for more details. We now have new Mommy, CEO merchandise and logo! copy;2004 Jodie Lynn. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconSwimming Safety New Research Shows Nearly 9 Out of 10 of Children Who Drowned Were Being Supervised U.S. Surgeon General, Olympic Swimmer Join The National SAFE KIDS Campaign To Educate The Nation about Drowning Prevention April 28, 2004 (NEW YORK) New research revealed today by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and Johnson Johnson shows that 88 percent of children who drowned were under the supervision of another person, usually a family member. Supervision was defined as being in the care of another individual, not necessarily in their direct line of sight. While better quality supervision is critical, the study also found that many adults were not properly fencing pools, requiring use of personal flotation devices (PFDs), or teaching their children how to swim. Additionally, SAFE KIDS found that the majority (55 percent) of parents say they are "not at all worried" or "not very worried" about their child drowning. Drowning remains the second leading injury-related killer of children ages 1-14, claiming more than 900 children's lives each year. It is a complex issue with no single safety device that works in all cases. Water safety entails the understanding and practice of four water safety wisdoms supervision, environment, gear and education. The report, Clear Danger: A National Study of Childhood Drowning and Related Attitudes and Behaviors, examined the circumstances of drowning deaths occurring in 2000 and 2001 among 496 children using data from Child Death Review Teams in 17 states. SAFE KIDS also commissioned nationally representative surveys of parents (of children 14 and under) and children ages 8 through 12 to determine knowledge, attitudes and behaviors concerning water safety. The research was released today by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, Olympic gold medalist Jenny Thompson and pediatric trauma surgeon Dr. Martin Eichelberger to launch National SAFE KIDS Week May 1 through 8, 2004 a week-long, nationwide, public education campaign. "Adults need to actively supervise children around water. This means watching and listening at all times and staying close enough to intervene in an emergency," says Dr. Eichelberger, director of Emergency Trauma Services at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and CEO of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. "We know that parents are well-meaning and don't want to put their children at risk." "We want kids to be active and enjoy swimming but we want them to do it safely," adds Dr. Carmona. "Drowning is a silent killer that can strike even older, more experienced child swimmers." Study Results Supervision More than half (55 percent) of parents say there are some circumstances where it is acceptable for a child to swim unsupervised. Even when parents say they are supervising, many are participating in a variety of distracting behaviors including talking to others (38 percent), reading (18 percent), eating (17 percent) and talking on the phone (11 percent). SAFE KIDS recommends adults take turns serving as the "water watcher" whose sole responsibility is to constantly observe children in or near the water. Environments While 98 percent of pool- or spa-owning parents report they have taken adequate steps to ensure children's safety, most have not made the necessary environmental changes. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of pool or spa-owning parents do not have isolation fencing around their pools or spas, and 43 percent have no self-closing and self-latching gate. Installation and proper use of four-sided isolation fencing could prevent 50-90 percent of residential pool drownings. Gear Many tweens (kids aged 8 to 12) admit they never wear a life jacket when riding on a personal watercraft (50 percent), participating in water sports (37 percent) or on a boat (16 percent). One in five parents (19 percent) mistakenly believes that air-filled water wings can protect their child from drowning. It is estimated that 85 percent of boat-related drownings could be prevented if all passengers were wearing properly fitting life vests. Education Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of drowning victims studied did not know how to swim. Seventy-three percent of victims ages five to nine and 30 percent of victims ages 10 to 14 were non-swimmers. Although the majority of parents agree that all children should have swimming instruction by the age of 8, 37 percent of parents report that their child has never taken lessons. SAFE KIDS recommends that children should be enrolled in swimming lessons with a certified instructor by the age of eight. Splash Into Safety Throughout SAFE KIDS Week hundreds of SAFE KIDS coalitions and chapters will conduct safety fairs and community events all across the nation to teach families how to prevent recreational water injuries and save lives. As part of this initiative, the Johnson Johnson family of companies has created an informative Water Safety Checklist (in English and Spanish) to help parents determine their own level of knowledge of water injury prevention for their children. The test is being distributed at community events and through retail stores along with safety information and a free-standing insert of coupons to 45 million households across the nation. Johnson Johnson also is supporting SAFE KIDS Week with a national advertising campaign and a donation of 2,000 personal flotation devices to SAFE KIDS coalitions across the country. Johnson Johnson has developed a marketing partnership with Turner Broadcasting to distribute public education advertorials supporting SAFE KIDS Week 2004. For more information or for a free copy of the SAFE KIDS/Johnson Johnson Clear Danger: A National Study of Childhood Drowning and Related Attitudes and Behaviors, contact the National SAFE KIDS Campaign at (202) 662-0600 or visit www.safekids.org . The National SAFE KIDS Campaign is the first and only national nonprofit organization dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury the number one killer of children ages 14 and under. More than 300 state and local SAFE KIDS coalitions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico comprise the Campaign. Johnson Johnson, with approximately 110,600 employees, is the world's most comprehensive and broadly-based manufacturer of health care products, as well as a provider of related services, for the consumer, pharmaceutical and medical devices and diagnostics markets. Johnson Johnson has more than 200 operating companies in 57 countries around the world, selling products in more than 175 countries. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon"Laws of Attraction" Movie Review The Movie Reporter Films Reviews from a Family Perspective by Phil Boatwright With the synopsis and content, you can decide if the new films are suitable for your viewing. Video alternatives contain the same theme, but lack the offensive material. Laws of Attraction Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Parker Posey, Michael Sheen, Nora Dunn, Frances Fisher; New Line Cinema. Romantic comedy Two hotshot divorce lawyers find themselves attracted to one another despite their differences: he's a laid-back Oscar, she's an uptight Felix. Pitted against each other over the divorce settlement of a rock star and his fashion designer wife, the attorneys travel to Ireland to obtain separate depositions, go to a Guinness-fueled festival, let down their hair, get drunk, and wind up in bed, discovering the next morning that they're married! Sound like a Doris Day/Rock Hudson farce? Well, for those of us who remember the screen dynamic between Day and Hudson ("Pillow Talk," "Lover Come Back"), this new romantic comedy will seem like a fond salute to those klutzy comedies of the early 1960s. For those of us, however, who also like watching Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy on the late, late show, "Laws of Attraction" will seem like a carbon copy; it's good, just not as good. If unfamiliar with the writing skills of Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin ("Adam's Rib," "Pat Mike"), or the directing touches of George Cukor ("Adam's Rib," "Born Yesterday," "The Philadelphia Story," "The Women") or Howard Hawks ("Bringing Up Baby," "His Girl Friday," "I Was A Male War Bride"), you may be satisfied with this endeavor. And certainly those involved deserve a B+ for attempting to revive grown-up banter and sophisticated predicaments on the silver screen. Skipping the critical kibitzing, did I like it? Well, despite its flaws and failings, yes, I did. Alas, I think I liked it more for what it was trying to be than for what it actually was. Mainly, I appreciated it for being a film aimed at those of us no longer challenged by oily skin and changing voices. It's an intelligent comedy for the moviegoers often ignored in studio boardrooms these days - adults. It's a pleasure to watch good-looking movie stars who weren't embryos just last week. And get this: None of the humor is based on flatulence jokes or other anatomically embarrassing shtick. Topping it off, the film is pro marriage. Make that pro-marriage between a man and a woman. Ain't that a kick? Unfortunately, movie dialogue for emancipated women has grown harsher than in the days of Rosalind Russell and Irene Dunn. Today, you just can't find a film that refuses to abandon profanity all together. Here we hear God's name followed by a curse on two occasions, one each from the female leads. Besides the biblical instruction against such usage, the incorporating of profanity by the female star deconstructs the classiness both director and star have worked so diligently to achieve. Suddenly the lead is more Tanya Harding than Greer Garson. Also disappointing both creatively and socially is the fact that the leads wind up in the sack, twice, both times unaware of how they got there. True, the one occasion sets up the story's premise. Two times, however, just makes them look like they share a drinking problem. The earlier situation is structurally unsound, surpassing an edgy tension that would have added more dimension to their relationship, and causing the pivotal moment, when they discover they have bonded in wedlock, to be rather anticlimactic. Some Christian filmgoers will be frustrated with the excessive drinking, the several objectionable words and the air of promiscuity. If able to adjust to the unnecessary content, they may appreciate the seldom-filmed pro-marriage scenario, along with the fact that it is rare to find a movie tailored for the over-25 set, and the fact that the film takes a profound stance, a clear defense if you will, for lasting commitments. In a culture that promotes the quick disposal of friendships and marriages at the first hint of dissatisfaction, here is a movie that declares love is worth fighting for.Readers must decide for themselves if the content is a deterrent. For me, the message was uplifting, and the performances delightful, especially the scene-stealing Frances Fisher as the audacious mother of the prim and proper lady lawyer. When this character, who spends her life fighting off old age, is asked, "Are you really 56," she quickly retorts, "Parts of me." Ya gotta love that. PG-13 (2 profanities, 6 obscenities, several minor expletives, the expression "oh my God is used three times, and one obscene gesture; a couple of sexual innuendoes, a few crude remarks, and the couple awaken in the same bed after a night of drunkenness - twice; lots of drinking; adult subject matter). Vid. Alt. Adam's Rib. It's got some age on it, but if you can abort a prejudice for black white movies, you'll find it a literate and funny battle-of-the-sexes comedy with man and wife attorneys (Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn) facing off in an attempted murder trial. DEFINITIONS Crudity - A word or action lacking in culture, tact Expletive - A mild obscenity or needless expression Obscenity - Objectionable or repugnant to acceptable standards of decency or morality; indecent; pornographic Profanity - Irreverence toward God Blasphemy - To speak contemptuously of God Adult subject matter - Situations or subjects unsuitable for or difficult to comprehend by children Download Boatwright#146;s book #147;How To Choose A Good Video Every Time!#148; FREE when you subscribe to his weekly film guide. For further information, visit www.moviereporter.com . "Know Before You Go" reg;Philip Boatwright, Editor Film/Video Reviews from a Family Perspective, Email: moviereporter@sbcglobal.net . Published by C. C. Publications, 835 Northstar Ct., Tonganoxie, KS 66086. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconMy Eggs Are Frozen by Cheryl Demas No, I'm not participating in a fertility study. My husband did the grocery shopping last night. That's right, grocery shopping. So this morning I went to the refrigerator to make omelets for the girls, and found no eggs. I phoned my husband, and he was positive that he had purchased eggs. "I know I bought eggs, they're there someplace. Keep looking." They're there someplace. Now that's a scary thought. Somewhere in the house lurked a dozen eggs, and if I didn't find them we would all be sorry. So I started searching the various places where my husband might have put the eggs. I checked the cupboards and the car and finally the freezer. There they were, frozen solid. Eggs don't freeze well, so we were stuck with a dozen rock-hard eggs and no omelets. My husband isn't usually this absentminded; it's just that when he's in the kitchen his mind is usually on more important things, like cheese. And ham. We all have times when we need help. And there are times when outside help isn't that much "help" at all. This was one of those times. You will often hear that to run a successful business you have to surround yourself with a good team of helpers and advisors. Since I work at home, my business team includes my family. My girls have been involved with my home business since the beginning and my husband is a wonderful advisor. He's the first person I turn to when I need advice. But sometimes I recognize when there are things that are best left for me to do for myself. I have certain ways that I like to have things done, and I can't expect anyone else to read my mind and do things exactly as I would. That's fine, if I can live with their style, I delegate the task, if not, I happily do it myself. Make a list of your daily chores and business tasks. Which items can someone else do? Which items do you want to do yourself? I know some women who love filing and organizing their paperwork, others adore making phone calls and following up on sales leads. Find a balance and use your team. You will get so much more accomplished. I'm happy with my extended business team and my family members contribute so much as well. So I'm willing to overlook a few (or twelve) frozen eggs. By the way, frozen eggs make excellent flying projectiles. I know from experience. Cheryl is the founder and publisher of WAHM.com . She lives and works at her home in California with her husband and two daughters. She is also the author of "It's a Jungle Out There and a Zoo in Here/Run Your Home Business Without Letting it Overrun You" Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconDo Teen-agers Have To Be So Expensive? By Jonni McCoy www.miserlymoms.com Question: I have three teens living in my home and there are cost issues that need to be addressed. We have problems with their clothing expenses, car insurance and snack foods. They don't like the fashions at Wal-Mart, their jobs don't pay enough to pay for their own car insurance, and they are picky eaters that are never full! Can you help? Jonni's response: There is no doubt about it - teen-agers are expensive. But there are some ways to make a dent into how expensive they are. Let's take clothes first. What seems to work the best for our family is to give the teen what you have allotted for their clothing budget. It should be enough to cover them with normal clothes (not stylish or brand name) that you could buy on sale at the department stores. If they want to spend more than that amount on stylish or name-brand clothes, then they will have to make up the difference with their own money. This has been tried and works well. They make mistakes at first, like blowing the entire wad on one jacket. But after a few months of wearing the same clothes, they learn from it. These are the years where they have to learn to make choices with their money and should not expect to have everything that they want. As for the car insurance, make sure to investigate the discounts that are available to you (good-student, multi-policy, etc.) Make sure you are getting other discounts on your own coverage to reduce the overall cost (non-smoker, middle-age, anti-theft-devices, low mileage, etc.). We have also found it cheaper to keep them on our policy than to have them on their own policy. Ask your insurance agent for suggestions as well. You should also shop around for quotes from different insurance carriers. Insurance rates very considerably between companies. Just make sure that the company is reputable - cheapest is not always the best. To check a company's rating, visit www.insure.com/ratings/ . I recommend that you make them be responsible for their own insurance. If they still cannot afford the insurance, then perhaps they shouldn't have the privilege to drive. Your last area of concern was food. Snacks are what eat up a family's budget, whether it's because of teens or not. Snacks are handy and usually taste better than "staple" food. So we need to be careful in this area. If the family had a choice, they would make snacks their meals. At our house, we budget for a certain amount of store-bought snacks, and if they eat them all in one day, that's their loss. The snacks don't get replenished until the next week's shopping. But they won't starve, because we have a supply of homemade snacks on hand: banana bread, cookies, muffins, popcorn, etc. Homemade snacks cost a fraction of the cost of store-bought. We cook them in bulk and keep them on hand. I even taught my teenage son how to cook his favorites so he can feed himself :-) 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 More >>

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05/07/2010
IconKnow the Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer#146;s Jacqueline Marcell www.ElderRage.com Seventy-seven million baby boomers, The Sandwich Generation, are heading into the caregiving years with their elderly parents, yet few are prepared to manage this incredibly difficult, but inevitable, chapter of their lives. I certainly wasn#146;t, and what I didn#146;t know cost me a year of my life as well as a fortune in Kleenex. Suddenly I had to give up my nearly 20-year career as a television executive to go take care of my elderly parents in San Francisco. I remember being surprised when I read that caregivers have a 63% higher death rate than other people their own age because of the stress. A year later without a day off, as I struggled to solve the endless crisis--I was surprised that the statistic was that low. For 11 years I had begged my obstinate 83 year-old father to accept a caregiver to help him with my ailing mother, but he adamantly insisted on taking care of her himself. When she almost died from an infection caused by his inability to keep her clean, I had to step in despite his loud protests. I was stunned that my once-adoring father became verbally and even physically abusive towards me--and I was heartbroken to have lost his love. What I didn't understand was that his deeply engrained life-long negative behavior pattern of screaming and yelling to get his way (though never at me before), and his need to be in total control, was becoming intermittently distorted with the onset of dementia, namely--Alzheimer's. Forty caregivers came and quit as my father called them nasty names and threw them out of the house. I cried rivers and fought through an unsympathetic medical system, astonished that he could act completely normal in front of the doctor when he needed to. I didn't understand that his doctor was not trained to diagnose or treat dementia, and I really didn#146;t understand that demented does not mean stupid--at all. Finally, after four times in a psychiatric hospital for violence (where he was released every time because they couldn#146;t find anything wrong with him), a geriatric dementia specialist spent the time and did the numerous tests needed to uncover the subtle, intermittent signs of Stage One Alzheimer's in my father. I was shocked. He received medication to slow the dementia down and improve cognitive functioning (Ask about Aricept, Exelon, Reminyl or Memantine), as well as medication for the (often-present) depression, and then medication to help smooth out his damaged impulse control and aggression. It wasn#146;t easy and we had to work hard to get the dosages just right, but once my father#146;s brain chemistry was properly balanced and his nutrition optimized, I was able to implement some creative behavioral techniques to manage him. Instead of using logic and reason, I learned when it was best to use distraction, redirection, or reminiscence--and how to validate his frustrated feelings while keeping myself in a state of calm compassion. The next piece of the puzzle was to get my parents out of bed ("waiting to die") and enrolled in Adult Day Health Care, which completely turned their lives around at 80 and 85. It was a gradual process to get them into the routine, but then they loved all the activities. They were busy for hours and the pressure on me to entertain them was drastically reduced. Then I was able to spend quality time with them in the evenings and on the weekends. Then, with the help of an Alzheimer's support group, solutions started to present themselves while I was around others who were going through the same situation. I was so surprised that none of the many professionals I had turned to initially had shown me the #147;Ten Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer's#148;--which would have alerted me to what was happening to my father a year sooner. I mistakenly thought that his intermittent illogical and irrational behaviors were just a normal part of aging and untreatable senility. It was a costly mistake--in every way. Once I figured it all out (medically, behaviorally, socially), I knew I had to write a book and become an advocate for eldercare awareness and reform--so that no one else would have to go through the misery that I had. The biggest advice I have is to encourage you to look into buying a comprehensive Long-Term Care Insurance policy prior to the diagnosis of any dementia, which will cover the cost of caregivers in the home, as well as in any level of care facility. Also, make sure you have Durable Power of Attorney in place on your loved ones (for health and financial), prior to a diagnosis, so that if they become incapacitated you can step in and make decisions for them. Please study the #147;Ten Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer's#148; and if any of them ring true about someone you love, please reach out for help sooner than later. With early diagnosis and treatment, dementia can be slowed down by 2-4 years, buying some time for medical science to come up with better medications--and hopefully a cure. Ten Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer's Recent memory loss that affects job skills It's normal to occasionally forget assignments, colleagues' names, or a business associate's telephone number and remember them later. Those with dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease, may forget things more often, and not remember them later. Difficulty performing familiar tasks Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may leave the carrots on the stove and only remember to serve them at the end of the meal. People with Alzheimer's disease could prepare a meal and not only forget to serve it, but also forget they made it. Problems with language Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a person with Alzheimer's disease may forget simple words or substitute inappropriate words, making his or her sentence incomprehensible. Disorientation of time and place It's normal to forget the day of the week or your destination for a moment. But people with Alzheimer's disease can become lost on their own street, not knowing where they are, how they got there or how to get back home. Poor or decreased judgment People can become so immersed in an activity that they temporarily forget the child they're watching. People with Alzheimer's disease could forget entirely the child under their care. They may also dress inappropriately, wearing several shirts or blouses. Problems with abstract thinking Balancing a checkbook may be disconcerting when the task is more complicated than usual. Someone with Alzheimer's disease could forget completely what the numbers are and what needs to be done with them. Misplacing things Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys. A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in inappropriate places: an iron in the freezer, or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl. Changes in mood or behavior Everyone becomes sad or moody from time to time. Someone with Alzheimer's disease can exhibit rapid mood swings from calm to tears to anger for no apparent reason. Changes in personality People's personalities ordinarily change somewhat with age. But a person with Alzheimer's disease can change drastically, becoming extremely confused, suspicious, or fearful. Loss of initiative It's normal to tire of housework, business activities, or social obligations, but most people regain their initiative. The person with Alzheimer's disease may become very passive and requires cues and prompting to become involved. Jacqueline Marcell is an author, radio host, national speaker, and advocate for eldercare awareness and reform. She#146;s the devoted daughter in her bestseller, Elder Rage, or Take My Father... Please! How to Survive Caring For Aging Parents , a Book-of-the-Month Club selection being considered for a feature film. Elder Rage has received numerous endorsements, including: Hugh Downs, Regis Philbin, Dr. Dean Edell, Duke University Center for Aging and Johns Hopkins Memory Clinic. Jacqueline also hosts an Internet radio program: #147;Coping with Caregiving#148; heard worldwide on www.wsradio.com/copingwithcaregiving/ . For information see: www.ElderRage.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconEndless Potential Excerpt from #147;The Wealthy Spirit#148; By Chellie Campbell #147;I am definitely going to take a course on time management#133;just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.#148;#151;Louis E. Boone One of the benefits of our fast-moving, information-saturated, technology-enhanced lives today is the wide variety of choices we are offered. It#146;s wonderful to have the freedom to choose where we#146;ll live, what work we#146;ll do, what friends we#146;ll have. This is also a major cause of stress. We want to do everything, be everyone, live all our lifetimes in this one. There#146;s so much we could do#151;if only we had more time, more energy! Frantic to #147;live up to our potential,#148; we run through our lives like we#146;re trying to jump on a moving train. Then we#146;re scared we#146;ve chosen the wrong train, so we keep jumping on and off, changing trains at every station. In my hunger for experience and fear of missing out on something, I always seemed to take on too much. As a high school senior, I was Pep Chairman, Secretary of Girls League, Worthy Advisor of Rainbow Girls, and the lead in the school play all at the same time. During one period in college, I performed in a semi-professional dance company, choreographed and appeared in a campus main stage production, and rehearsed a reader#146;s theater production from midnight until four A.M. because that was the only time I was available. Meanwhile I carried a full schedule of classes. The over-commitment habit continued in my professional life as I juggled building a business with community service and holding board positions in organizations. It seemed I couldn#146;t join an organization without being president or vice-president, often holding board positions in more than one organization at the same time. But as I hurried through my life, with no time for reflection or thought, once in a while I would meet a business owner who was calm. They would smile serenely and say they used to be like me. But after building their businesses, working constant eighty-hour weeks, they finally sold their businesses and became consultants, working out of their homes. I didn#146;t understand why on earth they would want to work at home. But every so often, I noticed these tranquil people at the corners of my life. Then one day my frantic life began to fall apart, like a plate-twirling circus performer who put too many plates in the air at once only to see them all crash in pieces on the ground. The crash seemed awful at the time, but in actuality what a gift it was! As I sorted through the wreckage, I picked back up only the valuable pieces. I cleared space in my life for reflection, meditation, friendships, a slower pace of work. I simplified my life to contain only those things I most cherished. I became a consultant working out of my home. Now, I take time to be happy and to know that I am. And I have no intention of living up to my potential. You don#146;t have to, either. Just because you can doesn#146;t mean you must. Today#146;s Affirmation: #147;I now claim and celebrate the abundance of my life!#148; Chellie Campbell is the author of The Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction , selected as one of Dr. Laura#146;s book recommendations in March, 2003. She created and teaches the Financial Stress Reductionreg; Workshops on which her book is based in the Los Angeles area and gives programs throughout the country. Her free e-newsletter is available at www.thewealthyspirit.com . Permission granted for use on Dr.Laura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconBusy Families Need to Sign Up and Organize Summer Plans Now Jodie Lynn ParentToParent.com Make plans and sign up for economical summer activities. QUESTION: I work from home and need some good and economical ideas for summer activities for kids ages 4-9. TIPS: Our library has a summer reading program and you can begin to sign up now. They offer great prizes and a sidewalk chalk art day for families that is all free. If you are near a rural area ask a local farmer if you can help feed chickens or pet horses one afternoon. If not, pet stores charge nothing for browsing and even touching most of the critters. Fire stations and bakeries will usually give free tours to small groups if you make arrangements ahead of time. Grab another mom with kids and make it a field trip. If all else fails, sidewalk chalk with a little water makes great body paint that washes off easily with a run through the sprinkler. - Leslie in Idaho I had 4 children all under 5 and understand what it is like to get more for less. At those ages I would take my kids to different parks on certain days of each week, attend library classes, story time and workshops. I collected all kinds of things from the home and had craft days. A small pool for the kids on hot days provides great fun for the backyard. Use one day a week for play dates with friends. The consistency of the planned activities allowed them to look forward to the next week. - Jodi in NY I've found that hosting a family movie night once a week is an inexpensive way to spend time with my children. I also give the kids some responsibilities - the child that's not responsible for selecting the movie gets to select the menu for dinner that night (and help prepare it). We often try theme dinners -- for example, when we rented "Angels In The Outfield" - we had hot dogs, soda and popcorn for a baseball theme evening; and for "Alice in Wonderland" - I served tea and finger sandwiches for a Mad Hatter tea party. - J.D. in Calif. From Jodie: If you are a work at home or a stay at home parent, just like many of us, you are probably interested in economical and fun activities. These are anything you can do with your children that may be different but yet inexpensive and/or free. Get their creative juices flowing by suggesting they either put on a play of a favorite book, TV show, game or better yet -- just make one up. Let them help to write it and decide on who plays which part. In fact, they will be busy for days just writing and rehearsing it. Go bananas on the wardrobe by making do with "stuff" you have around the house. For example, use old hats, shoes, dresses, pants, shirts, belts, and, etc., to make up awesome costumes. Get out the glue gun (or purchase one for $1.99) and create and design awesome custom-made dress up clothes. Let them add beads, ribbon, feathers or whatever you have handy to jazz up old clothes. The kids can go around and sell tickets (made out of construction paper) for .25 and tell neighbors to bring their lawn chairs. Select music and have fun with a huge and successful neighbored play. Before you know it, the kids will make up many other plays. 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 ParentToParent.com for more details. We now have new Mommy, CEO merchandise and logo! copy;2004 Jodie Lynn. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon"The Ladykillers" Movie Review The Movie Reporter Films Reviews from a Family Perspective by Phil Boatwright With the synopsis and content, you can decide if the new films are suitable for your viewing. Video alternatives contain the same theme, but lack the offensive material. The Ladykillers. Tom Hanks, Irma P. Hall. Touchstone Pictures. Comedy. WD-Joel Ethan Coen. Tom Hanks teams up with filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen (#147;Fargo,#148; #147;O Brother, Where Art Thou?#148;) for a remake of the 1955 English comedy of the same name. This version has Hanks in the Alec Guinness role, playing a charlatan Southern gentleman professor who#146;s assembled a gang of so-called experts for a heist. The base of operations: the root cellar of an unsuspecting, church-going, little old southern black lady named Mrs. Munson (Irma P. Hall). The ruse: the five need a place to practice their church music. The problem: it quickly becomes evident that the professor#146;s thieves lack the mental capacity to do the job. The bigger problem: Mrs. Munson has discovered their crime. The solution: they plot her demise. The surprise: other forces are with this God-fearing woman. I can#146;t remember laughing this much at a film. In my opinion, it is the funniest dark comedy since #147;Dr. Strangelove.#148; The whole premise is exceptional: incompetent criminals battle an unsuspecting widow woman, who#146;s protected by her naivety and their ineptitude. There is, unfortunately, a fly in the mint julep. Along with the positives (a very witty premise and script, brilliant comic performances by Hanks and Hall, and several toe-taping southern gospel tunes sprinkled throughout), this remake has sadly taken on a modern-day nastiness by incorporating excessive coarse and irreverent language. With at least 20 uses of God#146;s name followed by a curse and over 100 extreme obscenities, the Coen brothers have given this droll comedy a 21st-century harshness that#146;s downright mean-spirited. One of the thieves, portrayed by Marlon Wayans, can#146;t seem to form a simple declarative sentence without incorporating the use of the f-word #150; or worse. I understand that his language is a descriptive element of his character, but it is a clicheacute;d element, one that makes the black actor appear to be as cartoonish as the #145;40s African-American actor, Stepin Fetchit. I could have accepted the obscenity as character development, although it doesn#146;t do much to develop Mr. Wayans role, it merely becomes annoying, but I will not adjust my thinking when it comes to the acceptance of profaning God#146;s name. Hearing it over and over sends out negative messages #150; his use of blasphemy doesn#146;t just show the character#146;s ignorance, it also declares that the actor has no regard for those it may offend, nor a fear of the Almighty. What a shame. This should be a classic. I was enjoying the wit, the music and the performances thoroughly, but the incessant brutal language began to grieve my spirit.R (Though a very funny farce, it contains an endless stream of profanity and obscenity, with one black character using the N-word several times. There are a few minor sexual references. The violence is played for laughs, consisting of several deaths, each caused by ne#146;er-do-wells upon members of their own gang #150; sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident. The humor, though very funny, is very dark, including violent imagery.) Clarification: If you#146;re asking, #147;Phil, you#146;re saying this is the funniest movie you#146;ve seen in a long time. So, am I supposed to go, or not?#148; By declaring my appreciation for this film#146;s wit, I am attempting to be fair and balanced in my analysis of the filmmaker#146;s efforts. But the more inclined we become to following God#146;s principles, avoiding this film should be an easy call. In both the Old and New Testaments, we are instructed not to profane or speak harshly. #147;But I#146;m not going to start talking like that just because I hear it in a movie.#148; Well, if we aren#146;t supposed to talk that, then is God pleased with our supporting entertainment that does? In a way, I#146;d like to see a quality film fail at the box office. Then moviemakers will be forced to ask, #147;Why didn#146;t this work?#148; Perhaps they will realize that they insulted their audience. When an artist exposed herself on the Super Bowl, arrogantly pushing the limits of taste and propriety, America negatively responded, believing the woman had gone too far. Isn#146;t showing irreverence to God equally offensive? Not to the world. Using God#146;s name followed by a curse is meaningless to those who do not regard God or His Word. When we protest actions that deny the Lord#146;s sovereignty, we are taking a stand. We are announcing that we believe in a higher power and will show Him respect. Forgive the sermon, but I#146;m hearing all too often, #147;I just ignore that language.#148; Fine, but the bottom line in Tinseltown is the almighty buck. Our silence can only be seen as acceptance. Thus Hollywood#146;s shame becomes ours. Vid. Alt. The Ladykillers . The 1955 British version with Alec Guinness, Herbert Lom, and Peter Sellers is a hoot. Lacking the crude language of the remake, it settles for wit and snappy storytelling. Alec Guinness and his gang are just as hysterical. DEFINITIONS Crudity - A word or action lacking in culture, tact Expletive - A mild obscenity or needless expression Obscenity - Objectionable or repugnant to acceptable standards of decency or morality; indecent; pornographic Profanity - Irreverence toward God Blasphemy - To speak contemptuously of God Adult subject matter - Situations or subjects unsuitable for or difficult to comprehend by children Download Boatwright#146;s book #147;How To Choose A Good Video Every Time!#148; FREE when you subscribe to his weekly film guide. For further information, visit www.moviereporter.com . "Know Before You Go" reg;Philip Boatwright, Editor Film/Video Reviews from a Family Perspective, Email: moviereporter@sbcglobal.net . Published by C. C. Publications, 835 Northstar Ct., Tonganoxie, KS 66086. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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