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Parenting
05/07/2010
IconLove Your Body! 5 Tips to Get You Started By Carrie Myers Smith Author of Squeezing Your Size 14 Self Into A Size 6 World: a real-woman#146;s guide to food, fitness and self-acceptance with a foreword by Keli Roberts ( www.championpress.com ) February#133;the month of love! But while many of us have an easy time showering other people with love, we find that Cupid has yet to hit us with the #147;body love#148; arrow. Don#146;t wait for Cupid! Begin today to start appreciating, accepting, and yes, even loving your body. Stop picking yourself apart. Let#146;s face it: No matter how close-to-perfection a body you have (and just what is the perfect body anyway?), chances are, there is something you would change about it if you could. Even celebrities and models who have been stamped with the media#146;s #147;perfect body#148; rating have parts they dislike#151;their feet, their hands, their ears#151;and they don#146;t necessarily have high self-esteem, either! Rather than pick your body apart, look at your body as a whole (and read the next point#133;). Consider the marvelous functions of your body. There are millions of microscopic functions that go on in our bodies every day#151;and you don#146;t even have to think about them! They just happen! Unfortunately, it often takes a crisis or a tragedy, such as a brush with death, a go-around with a disease, or a debilitating accident for some women to realize that their bodies weren#146;t so bad to begin with and that their body hang-ups were a big waste of time. Don#146;t let that be the case with you! How much time are you spending each day worrying about your weight, your body shape, the size of your rear#133;and what could you be doing during that time? Maybe you#146;re supposed to be the first female president, but you#146;ll never know because you#146;re too busy obsessing about your abs! Get real. Did you know that most of the images you see on television, movies, and magazines aren#146;t even real? A model for a magazine cover goes through hours of professional hair and make-up, has professional stylists, top photographers who know her #147;best side,#148; professional lighting#133;and that#146;s all before the chosen photo goes to a company where they remove stray hairs, wrinkles, blemishes, and #147;extra#148; curves (can you believe that someone who qualifies as anorexic has extra curves?). Sometimes Model A#146;s head is stuck onto Model B#146;s body. What you see is totally made up (just see how their professional photos compare to the candids caught by the paparazzi!)! And it#146;s not just fashion magazines that are creating a fantasy. Most of today#146;s #147;fitness#148; magazines are following suit. On top of airbrushing and computer generating their models, fitness magazines now need to audition their models to be sure they#146;re strong enough to just do basic exercises! Muscles are even airbrushed in! It#146;s time to get real! Find real role models who emanate the qualities you desire. Educate yourself about what really goes on #147;behind the scenes.#148; And realize that no one naturally #147;glows#148; the way those models in the magazines do! Change your inner dialogue. It#146;s been said that we teach others how to treat us. If we believe that, due to our bodies, we are not worth being liked, loved, or treated with respect, that message comes across to others#151;and mostly from what we#146;re not even saying. Choose to believe that you are worth taking care of, and that you have the right to be respected and treated with dignity#151;and act like it! Take care of your body. Diets, pills, quick-fixes, binging, not exercising, over-exercising#133;all these things disrespect one of the greatest gifts you have been given#151;your body! You only get per lifetime#151;give it the respect it deserves. You will not only feel better, but you just might become someone else#146;s role model! Carrie Myers Smith is a licensed WellcoachTM, co-founder and president of Women in WellnessTM, and author of Squeezing Your Size 14 Self into a Size 6 World: A Real Woman#146;s Guide to Food, Fitness, and Self-Acceptance (Champion Press, 2004). To join her FREE Wellness Club and receive her FREE weekly wellness newsletter, visit: www.womeninwellness.com . More >>

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05/07/2010
IconHitting at School By Jodie Lynn ParentToParent.com Kids are a major part of having a good work-at-home environment. If there are family challenges with kids, working at home can be pretty yucky. Why? The biggest reason is because normally you can't hand the problem over to someone else like if you were working out of an office and your child was in child care. Here, a 5-year-old kindergartner is hitting people at home and at school. The question is being sent to me from the parents and I have a few choice words for them. Along with my two-cents is advice from a few other parents who work from home. Question: Our 5-year-old kindergartner is hitting everyone. What is the responsibility of the school to correct this? My wife and I made the decision long before we had children to raise our own kids -- that is, that one of us would stay home. My wife was very happy to stay home with our daughter. I was not making a lot of money at the time. It was not easy making the dollars stretch, but we made it work because we knew it was best for our child. Since then, many people have told us we were lucky to have one parent able to stay home (as if our family had some unfair advantage over the rest of the world). Virtually every family has the potential for one parent to stay home and raise the children. Most families opt not to because they see more benefits to having a dual income than to raising their own children. - A. and J. R. in MO It's not the school's responsibility to teach your child how to behave with other children. It's your own responsibility as parents. The school is there to provide you a service, not to raise your children for you. - P. C. in Texas Communicate with and enlist the help and support of your teacher. Begin by finding out what seems to cause your child to hit, and what the teacher's response is. Talk to your child. Your child will benefit from you talking to him calmly about why he shouldn't hit, and asking him why he does. Offer a reward for consecutive days without hitting, such as the opportunity to do a special activity with you. Your child needs to know he has your love and support as he learns appropriate ways to control his emotions and interact with others. - K.G. in IL Your child's behavior is your responsibility. He is trying to tell you something and this is the only way he knows how. If he is in half day kindergarten, quit your office job and stay home with him. I promise you it will make a difference. - M.A.M. in TX From Jodie: Let me answer your question directly. Communication and doing your part at home is the key here. Take a look around at your son's home environment. Are you spending too much time working on projects after he arrives home from school? If he is in half day school and you still need to get a few things done after he gets home, maybe consider taking a forty-minute break and do something that involves just the two of you. If he goes to all day school, it's best just to call it a day until he is in bed for the night. Check out what he is watching on TV. Are you using TV as a baby-sitter even if it is an educational program? Kids eventually wise up on these type of things. He may just need more human interaction and is seeking any type of attention he can get - especially from you. Are older siblings wrestling and play fighting with him? Younger siblings always want to be like their older siblings. At this age, any type of hitting action will be imitated. He may think that hitting is just as normal as putting on shoes because it is acceptable behavior in your home? Monitor his computer and video games. Is he watching what his older siblings are watching? If so, this is not a good start for him. He needs his own age appropriate games. Talk to him quietly and tell him how he can play with others without hitting. Tell him if he hits other children, they will not play with him and he will be lonely and sad. Make sure you watch his diet as well. Do not allow your son to have caffeine drinks. If he is already used to them, begin now to dilute them with water and eventually switch to caffeine free. Keep sugar and chocolate intake low especially right before school. Remember, chocolate has both sugar and caffeine and can be found in many of today's more popular cereal and have a tendency to make children more assertive in behavior. If he seems really keyed up after he arrives home from school, take him out to the backyard or to the park and let him kick and chase a ball for at least one hour. In fact, kick the ball with him. It will do the two of you a world of good. Pop into the school unexpected and watch him unnoticed. This will give you firsthand information. Talk to his teacher about the incidents, and find out the exact rules on inappropriate behavior at the school. Ask your child to show you how he is hitting. Find out "why" by role-playing. If he hits only Billy, you become Billy and act out a scene. If this doesn't work, switch roles and become your son, and he can pretend to be Billy. As a rule of thumb, the latter will usually work better. Work together with the school and stay calm accepting responsibility for your son's behavior while monitoring your own environment at home on a daily basis. Your first priority is not your work at home business. Your kids are your top priority - please do not forget that. 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. copy;2004 Jodie Lynn. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconHelp - My House Is A Mess! Homebodies By Cheryl Gochnauer Cheryl@homebodies.org "Most people don't believe that with five childrenI am new to the SAH thing," says Mary Anne, an at-home mom from Riverdale, Maryland. "I worked because I thought I had to. My childrenrange in age from 17 years to 6 months old. I wentback to work when my youngest was 12 weeks old.I thought I could do this. I had a job I loved at my children's school. But from Day One I was miserable. My three-year-old cried for me all the time. My mother-in-law was wonderful about staying with the kids, but it was not the same. I quit work for good right before Thanksgiving 2003. It has been wonderful, but here is the problem. "You talk about getting the house clean, etc., butI cannot even get a shower everyday! My house isa disaster and I feel like a failure. My kids arehappy and they don't seem to notice the mess. Myhusband is wonderful and says that as long as thekids are fed and happy we can live with the mess.Now when I say mess, I mean clutter. I can washthe dishes and keep the floors clean etc, butstuff just piles up. Maybe because I spend somuch time with the kids? I don't want to notspend time with them, and my three-year-old islearning to clean up his toys and loves to helpwith laundry. "I just need some encouragement that I am on theright track. Thanks for listening." - Mary Anne Hi, Mary Anne - There is no "right" way to keep house, so throwthe Suzie Homemaker mantle off your back! I seefrom your email that you have a three-year-old anda six-month-old. With only these two kids, yourhome would never be neat. Add three more plus ahusband, and you can see why everything's socluttered. Erma Bombeck did a lot of writing about this sortof thing. I remember one column in particularwhere she talked about how she used to yell at herkids for trashing the place. But when they weregone, she would have given anything for a pair ofsneakers on the stairs for her to trip over. Also, you have the approval of the one personwhose opinion means the most: your husband. Ifhe's okay with the clutter, don't worry about it.(Sounds like he's got his priorities straight!) My girls are now 11 and 15, and our house isneater than it's ever been (except for theirrooms, of course). That's because they're oldenough to help me pick up everything. We often do10-minute blitzes where we run from room to roomand tidy up. I know you've got older kids, too,but as you know, until the babies hit school-ageor so, they'll still be totaling the area foreverybody. You, too, will someday have a neat house. Butdon't stress out about it now. Concentrate onbuilding clean characters more than a clean house. - Cheryl Comments? Write Cheryl@homebodies.org . If you'dlike to get an autographed copy of Cheryl's "Stay-at-Home Handbook," visit http://www.gospelcom.net/homebodies/bookstore/orderSAHH.php Copyright 2004 Cheryl Gochnauer. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconTips on Homework For The Best Success: work at home parent dilemma! Jodie Lynn www.ParentToParent.com Homework success for many work at home parents can leave the whole family baffled as to why their routine is failing. Try these tips for the best success. Most children need a quiet and well-lit area to do homework. Not always! Some can concentrate with music in the background while singing along. How can that be true? No one knows. There are different learning styles for different kids. Some kids learn well by sitting down and doing it all at once. Some learn and can retain more by taking mini breaks every 20-minutes or so. Children with ADD or ADHD make need to take breaks more often. If your child has more than 15-minutes of homework per grade - check it out. For example, 15-minutes times 3 (for third grade) is 45 minutes. If it's more than that, unless your child has a learning disability, or is working on a school project, it's time to go ask questions. Talk with the teacher about what's up and why is there so much homework. Work with the teacher to get this under control. Don't do the homework for your child just to get it done. Let the child complete his own assignment and learn from his own mistakes. This is how the teacher checks to see what a child knows or doesn't know. If a parent does the homework for the child, the teacher will not know that the student needs additional help and is not prepared to move to the next level. If she thinks he is making great grades and moves on to the next level, it will only cause more headaches at home, deplete the child of self-esteem, and build more resentment on you both. As we all know, make sure everything your child needs is right there so he will not have to get up and down and lose his train of thought. The second session of school, right now, is a new beginning to catch up and move forward in getting those grades back up to where they need to be. It is imperative to get those good homework habits in line and any questions answered right away. There are only a few months of school left and it's time to address your child's needs as soon as possible. Don't forget to go in and volunteer. You will be getting a bird's eye view and gathering firsthand information. There's so much that can cause a child to not do well in school. Here is a mini list of some the things parents often times overlook. Go over them and ask yourself if any one strikes a chord with your situation. Lack of motivation for good grades: Learning disability Being bullied Depression Being constantly teased about clothes or hygiene Feeling sick due to dust and mold in class Classroom is too noisy Classroom is too hot or too cold Classroom has too many windows Hearing challenge (get hearing checked) Blackboard (eye sight needs to be tested) Runny nose - (allergies need to be addressed) Not getting enough sleep at night Over scheduled Hates going to after school program Not enough attention at home Divorce Unsettled home environment Poor nutrition 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. 2004 Jodie Lynn. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconTeacher's Pet 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. TEACHER'S PET: Disney animated adventure, with the voices of Nathan Lane, Kelsey Grammer, Shaun Fleming, Debra Jo Rupp, David Ogden Stiers, Jerry Stiller. W-Bill Cheri Steinkellner. D-Timothy Bjorklund. A talking dog named Spot fulfills his ultimate wish to become a #147;real boy#148; when he hooks up with a mad scientist. Spot becomes a canine #147;guinea pig#148; in the kooky doctor#146;s evolutionary experiment, with the dog successfully turned into a human. The only catch is that the silly scientist didn#146;t calculate for #147;dog years#148; and Spot finds himself in the body of a middle-aged man! The fur really flies as his pals (led by best friend and master, Leonard Helperman, a cat named Mr. Jolly, and a boisterous bird named Pretty Boy) help him out of his #147;tight Spot#148; and try to right this genetic wrong. Cute, with a creative storyline and a wonderful voice performance from the witty Nathan Lane, this is a lot of fun for kids and, unlike a lot of animated adventures for little ones, tolerable for accompanying adults. Full of vibrant drawings and lots of energy, the plot makes room for life lessons concerning selfishness and helping others fulfils their dreams. PG (A trip to a Jerry Springer-like program has the audience members chanting #147;wacko#148; at the mad scientist during the show. Later, the boy and dog go to the mad scientist#146;s house #150; the address consisting of the numbers 666, a biblical numerology that refers to the anti-Christ. Because the scientist is attempting to turn animals into humans, the question of nature vs. science is touched upon. But the storyline doesn#146;t seriously address this subject. At one point both dog and boy are strapped down to an operating table and undergo transformations. Other creatures that didn#146;t do well during transformations appear as freaks. But they are more comical than scary. I felt the filmmakers were careful about what they put in front of their intended audience. As always, however, I suggest a parent attend when taking any child under ten to a movie. You just never know when parental comfort is going to be needed #150; and no other relative can meet that need quite like a Mom or Dad). 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
IconThe New Year At A Glance: Taming The Sign-Up Activity War by Jodie Lynn It's another New Year. How are you proposing to keep your new resolutions intact? Get your family organized today to ensure a rested, easier and more positive year. It may alleviate stress later. Many moms want to be better organized but lack the tools or motivation to do so. For many families, the second part of the school year is just as busy, if not more, than the first part. Hard to believe? It's true! Why does this seem to ring so true? Well, this is the catch-up and make-up segment of your child's progress. It's the final stretch to make and take everything academically back up to snuff. Not only this, spring and summer activities take a "snooze and lose" attitude towards early sign-up, especially things like summer camps. Work-at-home parents try just as hard as any other career-oriented individual to review commitments and family plans. Sometimes, with children in school and a few at home (under foot while you try to work) things can get pretty hairy! It's a double whammy that often times delivers a double headache, not to mention back pains! Set systems into place that streamline days into making better use of time and allow for family activities. Begin by making this new year and upcoming spring a more positive one by squashing the over-scheduling dilemma today in the month of January. Here are a few good tips to get you started and hopefully keep you from pulling out your hair! Review individual needs: Sit down with your children separately and look over their activity schedules for the spring and even the summer. Ask them what they would like to do, instead of assuming. Just because you think they#146;d like it, or even if they participated last year doesn#146;t necessarily mean they want to do it. Letting them choose is better in the long run, unless it is something they obviously need, like summer school for enrichment or for poor grades. Tell them why you are making a calendar and organizing so much. Let them know that getting organized will help everyone in the family with time management and will make you a happier mom. Write it down for visual aid and better motivation: Although there are plenty of tools and aids on the market today to help busy moms, they are no good if not efficient and easy to use. A simple calendar will work, especially one of those larger ones with more writing room, or you can use some computer or Palm software. Plan your month day by day trying to include various details that will make up the day like meals, appointments, practices, games and etc. It sounds like a lot of work, but you will save so much time in the end as you will know what to expect for every day. Personally, I go with my computer planner/calendar. Many of today's computers come with a daily planner/calendar that can be filled in and printed out for a handy visual aid. If you need more space, the squares of each day can be adjusted to print out a little bigger. Make a copy of each month and keep it with you. Give a copy to your spouse and anyone else who may need it and hang one in an area for other family members to see as well. To utilize a better charting system, use the first initials of each family member's name and color code it. For example, mom is orange, dad is green, son is blue, etc. If they want to check the family calendar for their daily schedule, they can easily find it by the specific color code. Just remember, the best laid plans can and do go astray -- so be flexible. Have it all at a glance: Include columns in your plan for special help, other appointments and daily reminders for best success. Make a list of names, times, activities and locations so other family members can help out, even if it is just giving a ride. Manage time by going as far as planning meals and other necessities on the same sheet. Keep a column open to write down meals and items needed for a specific meal, doctor appointments and etc, to help in planning what can be done on days of practice or game days. Keep a space on the calendar handy for preprinted numbers of neighbors, childcare professionals, vets and/or relatives for emergencies. For example, on Monday if you can visually see that it takes 20 minutes to get to your son after school, and another 20 minutes to get him to basketball practice (and you know that you can't make it because you have to stop at the store) call someone from your emergency help list. Have them pick up your son or go to the store and pick up certain ingredients for dinner. Chart family time with rescheduling: Schedule family time into each month. Be upfront with family members and let them know an activity may have to be changed or switched if it's not working for the family as a whole. Make family time an important time and treat it as a priority. If you see after a while that certain activities conflict with certain days, reschedule them. For example, if your daughter's dance class on Tuesdays creates a large overlap with a planned family activity and gets everyone in a bad mood every week, change it. It's not worth the hassle if everyone gets in a bad mood because of one day each week. Remember that one day a week adds up to several weeks a year and resentment and blame will soon follow. Make time for yourself: Don't think for one-minute moms don't need time for themselves. At least three times a week, or at least three hours, go do something for you. Take a walk; go for a run; attend an exercise class. Maybe consider joining a book club or visiting a nursing home. Do something - anything - away from kids. Don't feel guilty about it -- just do it. If you "FLS" (feel like screaming) -- you will! It's like the old saying goes -- "If mama ain't happy -- nobody is." 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. 2004 Jodie Lynn. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconWhat Do I Tell People About Why I Am A Stay At Home Dad? by Jodie Lynn "What do I tell people about why I am a stay at home dad without getting upset at all of their questions?" You are very lucky to say the least to be in a position to stay at home with your children. You should remind these people who are asking questions that it is your decision and the best plan for your family. Most of the time people are just curious and really don't mean to be nosy. But go ahead and tell them that it is your decision and it is a personal one made within your family. Let them know they should also consider the option for themselves should it ever be presented. There's no need to debate the topic. Just offer a smile and a hug to your children in front of this person. Usually there are two types of questions. One is supportive and curious and the other is trying to assess whether or not you are as good of a role model as the mom would be. The first one can be answered by reflecting on the awesome experiences everyone in the family is benefiting from and offer input into whether or not they might try it for themselves. And, for number two, be polite and say your instincts are more family friendly than your spouse who is really good at what she does in the business world. It is important for society to finally become educated in this area. With the recent layoffs, firings, company closings and/or delays in promotions, we will probably see more dads deciding to work at home or just take an early retirement so they can be there for the kids. It has been the experience of many dads that being home for children offers a positive and educational endeavor for the whole family. As many families know, the first three to five years of a child's life is crucial for all types of development, coordination, self-esteem and much more. But society is also seeing how important it is for someone to be home when older kids come home from school as well as for our teenagers. "It keeps us grounded and helps us keep them motivated for good grades, behavior and better moral standards to say nothing of their safety," says one father who wrote to me on the topic. Another dad says "there is so much they can get into, talked into or feel the need to perform that I am glad I can meet and greet them at the front door. I say, "BRAVO!" to all dads who are taking an active role in helping to raise their own children. 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. 2004 Jodie Lynn. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconAn Encouraging Word Homebodies By Cheryl Gochnauer Cheryl@homebodies.org Copyright 2003 My inbox has been filling up with email as Homebodies readers share their experiences regarding peers who either praise or criticize their decision to stay home with their children. Nisi wrote in to compliment her sister-in-law, who seems to be just the kind of wonderful, supportive relative at-home parents hope and pray for: #147;I have been a stay at home mom since my first child was born 14 years ago,#148; Nisi says. #147;We have four children, the 14 year old, a 12 year old, an 8 year old, and the light of our lives, a darling 1 year old girl. #147;My husband got laid off December 5th from his job, is freelancing, and looking hard for a new job. All my insecurities about staying at home bloomed as I thought about my extensive education and skills not helping out with the family income at this rough time. #147;But I have been praying about it, and did reach out for support to my sister-in-law." She said the following: "Your children are the warmest, kindest, happiest children because of your choices. They are so blessed to have a highly educated mother staying at home with them, guiding them through their lives' highs and lows. Thank goodness you have been there all these years, and not an indifferent daycare provider. You are doing a fabulous job!" #147;What she said rang true, but it was like water to a thirsty plant in the desert to hear her words just then,#148; Nisi remembers. #147;Sometimes it is necessary to hear the encouragement from others, especially in a society that puts so much importance into acquisition and material gratification.#148; As Nisi points out, a few well-chosen, kind words can immediately change someone#146;s perspective, providing a lift just when they need it. Life is hectic. We spend so much time stomping out fires, it#146;s easy to neglect sparking hope in others. Take time today to encourage a friend. If you#146;re not close enough to give them a hug, why not pick up the phone or shoot off a quick email? Let#146;s launch the New Year with a smile! Comments? Write Cheryl or Nisi at Cheryl@homebodies.org , or visit www.homebodies.org where you can interact with other at-home parents on the active messageboards. Copyright 2003 Cheryl Gochnauer. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon"Cheaper By The Dozen" 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. Cheaper By The Dozen. Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hillary Duff, Piper Perabo, Ashton Kutcher. 20th Century Fox. Family comedy. W-Sam Harper, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow. D-Shawn Levy. This #147;update#148; of the 1950 Clifton Webb classic concerns a devoted couple raising twelve children. More like #147;Yours Mine and Ours,#148; this new version is a pale imitation of either of those earlier films, with holes in plausibility #150; make that canyons #150; and few memorable moments. Okay, that#146;s the critic in me. Now, just as a moviegoer who still likes theater popcorn, I had a good time with this film. True, it#146;s no #147;Life With Father,#148; but it had some very funny moments and a couple of touching ones as well. What#146;s more, it was like stepping back in time, for this is the cleanest movie I have seen all year. No bad language, no off-color humor, the husband and wife love each other, and get this, the family is religious. Not much is made out of their faith, but it is dramatized by the fact that the parents do not accept their grown-up daughter living with her guy outside of marriage. When the daughter comes home to help out during a crisis, the boyfriend sneaks over. When finding out that the young couple slept together, her folks are incensed, proclaiming #147;This is a G-rated house.#148; They love their daughter, but it is clear that their religious values are to be adhered to while under their roof. I haven#146;t heard that declaration in movies for quite some time. As a matter of fact, the last time I remember the praises of virginity until marriage upheld in a movie was in the very funny and warm #147;Yours, Mine and Ours.#148; In that film the father tells his stepdaughter, #147;It#146;s not going to bed with someone that shows you#146;re in love. It#146;s getting up with them in the morning and facing life together.#148; Here, the story has been time-warped from the turn of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st. Pops has been given his dream job, coaching the football team of his old alma mater, and uproots the family, something none of them are thrilled about. Poor dears, they move to an incredible home, and no longer have to wear hand-me-downs. Not exactly child abuse, but they behave like movie kids are supposed to, sullen and selfish. Mom also has an exciting career. She#146;s the author of a biographical novel entitled #150; oh, come on, guess the title. When she has to go on a two-week book tour and dad is left behind with a neighborhood of kids all living under the same roof, well, havoc ensues. For the sake of situation comedy, dad can#146;t get any domestic help because he has so many kids, and therefore he unsuccessfully balances a work schedule with a clumsy attempt at governing home life. The saving grace for this film is found in its two stars, Martin and Hunt. Bonnie Hunt, the star of TV#146;s #147;Life With Bonnie,#148; has a relaxed manner and a quick wit. And Steve Martin, nearly always funny, is sensitive and believable. The couple work well together. So, now back to being a critic, My main problem with this film is the kids. They are just a bit too bratty and too stagy. In a family that size, discipline and responsibility would be a forgone conclusion, working together expected. But while mom is off, none of the older kids do much to be supportive. They gripe about dad never being there for them, despite the fact that dad#146;s out making this great living for them. Other plot holes become somewhat annoying, but the leads come through and moviegoers are left with a fun, holiday family film. PG (I caught no bad language during the film, with only a mild expletive from Ms. Hunt and a bleeped profanity from Ashton Kutcher during the outtakes during the final credits; some of the kids get a little smart-alecky, but they all pull together at the end and we are left with a strong family portrait; a vomit scene is a bit graphic; a young couple are seen nestling in bed the morning after, but they are later chastised for sleeping together, giving movie audiences a message they seldom hear in movies about chastity; a dog attacks a man #150; this is played for laughs, and it is more playful than vicious; positive lessons including the difficulty of #147;having it all#148;). 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
IconThe Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King 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 Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies. D-Peter Jackson. Action/Adventure, Fantasy. This Ring is a flawed jewel. It suffers from the same problems found in chapters one and two. First, you must be somewhat versed in Tolkien ideology in order to clearly follow along. Concocted, otherworldly names of people, places, and things are bandied about in nearly every line. Reading the press notes, I flashed back to college exams I was ill prepared for: As the shadow of Mordor grows across the land, Aragorn is revealed as the hidden heir to the ancient kings. Gandalf miraculously returns and defeats the evil wizard, Saruman. Sam leaves his master for the dead after a battle with the giant spider, Shelob; but Frodo is still alive--in the hands of the Orcs. And while the armies of the Dark Lord are massing--and the one ring comes ever closer to the Cracks of Doom. You see what I mean? Collectively, the three #147;The Lord of the Rings#148; films tell the story of Frodo Baggins, who battles to save Middle-earth from the grip of evil. In their adventures across the treacherous landscape of Middle-earth, Frodo and friends attempt to rid the world of the One Ring #150; a ring that can only be destroyed by being thrown into a lake of fire. I understand that scholars of Tolkien#146;s mythic anthology find ethereal messages contained in the books, as if Tolkien was providing Christianity in code. In the film versions, you can find a good vs. evil theme. And I#146;ll grant there is an example of how good men can be tempted by evil. But I found the allegories overshadowed by one deafening battle after another, one gruesome and very frightening-looking ghoul after another, and a somber narrative that could have been told in 96 minutes rather than its three-hour, 20-minute length. And that brings me to the next problem. At the end of the year, we can always expect the Hollywood heavyweights to bombard us with epics that come close and often extend beyond the three-hour mark. Okay, so we have come to expect that. But this one at 200 minutes just doesn#146;t seem to know how to end. Indeed, there are several endings. To be fair to the filmmakers, they wanted to be true to the books, and respectful to those familiar with every subplot. And although there are many changes, the overall feel is faithful to the book series. It is a difficult thing adapting a book to the screen. The screenwriters should be congratulated for their efforts, but if you haven#146;t studied the books, you may question from time to time, or in my case, scene to scene, just what the heck is going on. Also troubling is the amount of violence in this film. Believe me, you#146;ll get no inkling of the film#146;s ferociousness from the family-friendly merchandising tie-ins. But it is one of the most violent films I#146;ve seen in quite some time. Not much blood, but there#146;s torture, duels to the death, main characters are killed, nightmarish sequences pop up every time someone puts that ring on, and there are hordes of demonic-looking villains bent on eliminating our little band of wood imps. And lastly, I never grew close to these characters. Barely a scene goes by where someone#146;s eyes don#146;t pool up, yet I was unaffected. Because it all seemed fantastical, I was unable to sense any real emotional depth. Perhaps a great performance rather than an adequate one would have conveyed that sensation. You have to be a fan of this genre to best appreciate this metaphor-laced action adventure. I freely admit that I do not share the enthusiasm that I#146;m sure many of my colleagues in criticism will lavish upon this production. But I also admit an admiration for the visual opulence director Jackson has brought to the screen. Although it#146;s not my cup of tea, there is no question that it is epic storytelling and grandiose filmmaking. The visuals in every scene are breathtaking, often mesmerizing. Sir Ian McKellen is majestic in the role of Gandalf. And it is a film that luxuriates in the storytelling process. What#146;s more, there are spiritual ideals that can be gleaned concerning faith, honor, loyalty and man#146;s struggle with his inner nature. Tolkien#146;s themes deal with friendship, mercy, self-sacrifice, nature versus industry and, finally, redemption. Where I found these ideas muted in the first installment, dwarfed by the action sequences, both the second and now this final chapter leave a more thoughtful impression. Director Jackson is quick to point out, #147;What we are trying to do, as we adapt #145;The Lord of the Rings#146; into a film medium, is honor these themes. While you can never be totally faithful to a book, especially one over one thousand pages, we have tried to incorporate the things that Tolkien cared about when he wrote the novel, and make them the fabric of the films.#148; Actor John Rhys-Davies, who plays the courageous dwarf Gimli, adds to Jackson#146;s explanation, #147;Tolkien is aware of the presence of evil. Evil is a very unfashionable thing to talk about in our time. It makes everybody squirm. He#146;s also aware of the fact that civilizations can be lost. Tolkien knows that every hundred years or so, there comes a challenge to a generation where you can lose it all. Your way of life, your civilization. If you do not have unity, courage and a willingness to sacrifice yourself, you can lose it all.#148; Rhys-Davies, gifted with a commanding voice and a thoughtful use of language, continues by merging his own assessment of our times with Tolkien#146;s goals. #147;Our civilization matters. We take it for granted. Tolkien reminds us that there are things worth fighting for.#148; Buffs of the series should be delighted. And it will most likely satisfy most others. But it would help if you could first take J.R.R. Tolkien 101 before attending. And if you should attend, don#146;t exit until the end credits begin to appear, because just when you think it#146;s over, it isn#146;t. PG-13 (constant violence and a few sequences that may be nightmarish for little ones, but no inappropriate language or sexuality; the opposing warriors look demonic, as does Gollum, a schizophrenic creature who leads Frodo throughout the film; though the battles are fairly bloodless, they are intense and frequent #150; and do include brutalities such as decapitations; parents, be advised that there are moments and characters in this movie that may traumatize very little ones). 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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