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Parenting
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05/07/2010
IconSimplify SuperMarket Trips By Cheryl Gochnauer Uh oh. Mother Hubbard's cupboard is bare. What can we do to make the trekto the supermarket as pleasant as possible? Snack Right, Dress Right . Goodies have a way of springing off shelves whenyou shop hungry, so have a small snack before you leave home. Do this andyou won't cave in to those high-priced convenience foods beckoning from thedeli. Pop off the heels and slip on some sneakers to save your feet. If yourgrocery store has them, use special carts with built-in child seats so youaren't balancing a toddler on your hip as you head down the aisles. Betteryet, patronize stores that feature free supervised play areas for childrenwhile parents shop. Shop Centsibly . You're armed with a detailed shopping list, ads and couponsfor items you actually use. Carry all your coupons in a packet, with theones designated to be used this trip in a separate envelope.Now be alert for unadvertised in-store promotions. Tags like "Manager'sSpecial", end-of-aisle displays, and double-coupon/rebate offers you hadn'tanticipated can save you megabucks. Don't forget to sign up for free storediscount cards that award you as a "preferred shopper". You might even getan item for free, once you figure in sale price, doubled-coupon and rebate. Tag Team Shopping . Split up your list among family members, and cover thegrocery store in half the time. Send older kids on a scavenger hunt an aisleahead; have your husband hit the drycleaners while you return the video. Inspect The Spuds . Beware specials on groceries nearing their expirationdate. It's counterproductive to stock up on items that will spoil beforeyou use them, no matter how inexpensive they seem. Don't buy dented cans;pass on packages with rips. On hot days, have a cooler in the car in whichto place refrigerated items. Belly Up To The Barcode . Be courteous; don't make the person with a gallonof milk wait while you check out a once-a-month mountain of groceries. Inthe same vein, avoid the "12 Items or Less" line when you have 13 or more.Ask attendants to sack delicate groceries separately, and hand-carry anyspecial items (flowers, cake, etc.) to the car so they aren't crushed. Congratulations! You've survived your trip to the supermarket. Now who'smaking dinner? Comments? Write Cheryl@homebodies.org or visit her website at www.homebodies.org . Copyright 2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconHomeschooling Your Teenager By Patricia R. Chadwick This year has brought a lot of changes for me. One of biggest changes is returning to homeschooling. Many moons ago, I homeschooled all of my children. For five years I taught 4 kids of varying grades in bothelementary and Middle School. I really enjoyed it, but the time came when 2 of them wanted to return to school. My husband was injured at work that year, so we decided it was time for all of them to return tothe public school. So, for the past 5 years, I've had the freedom to finish my B.A., work on my Master's Degree and develop interests of my own - including setting up this website. I have to admit, I've thoroughly enjoyed having this time alone while the kids were in school. But, as always, things change. My youngest has always struggled in school. And while he loved elementary school, going to the Middle School in 6th grade was just more than he could handle. He struggled and wanted to give up. He began to dislike school and spent a good portion of the year being "sick" in the morning or calling home "sick" from the nurse's office. He developed migraine headaches and nearly every day became a struggle to get (and keep) him in school. He asked to be homeschooled once in a while, then would change his mind. This past summer I asked him if he wanted to homeschool in 7th grade. He finally decided that he wanted to try 7th grade at the Middle School. The second day of school he called home sick with the elusive stomach headache. Yikes. The decision was made to give homeschooling a try. Now, I will admit, I wasn't too happy about this. My baby and I tend to butt heads. Maybe we are too much alike, I don't know. Maybe we are too different. Regardless, he bugs me when we are together too much. Not a good sign. But I really felt that God wanted me to do this.*sigh* Why does He so often call me to do things I don't want to do?I can't say I accepted the challenge too graciously - at first. ThoughI knew this was the best option for my son, I resented giving up my free time and my personal endeavors. I hope I didn't show it. But I felt it.Of course, it didn't help matters much when he gave me attitude and sass when he saw that homeschool was STILL school! Well, it's been two weeks of homeschooling now. His books finally came in and we've settled into a routine. I'm glad to report that he's doing really well and that we are getting along splendidly for the most part. He's becoming more interested in learning and loves being home. I'm finding his behavior much improved. And so is my attitude. I have come, once again, to the conclusion that positively influencing the life of even just one of my children is just as important as reaching outand helping the world. I just needed to be reminded! Today we took a field trip and then went out to lunch. While we were sitting at the Olive Garden eating our pasta, my son said to me, "You know Mom, just because you are homeschooling me doesn't mean you have to give up your writing. After lunch I can finish up my school work on my own and give you a few hours to write." As I sat there I realized how mature he's getting. And considerate. Maybe this will work out after all! Patti Chadwick is a SAHM of 3 wonderful teens.Visit her websites at: www.historyswomen.com and www.parentsandteens.com Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconOpening Your Home For The Holidays By Cheryl Gochnauer 'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE VISITORS, and all through the house, the hostess was obsessing, drafting children and spouse. Do you really need to dust the top of the refrigerator? "The more I do, the more I feel I have to do," sighs Sally. "I'm like one of those hamsters on the wheel." Relax. Your home should be comfortable, not spotless. Most people feel less pressured when family's on the way than they do entertaining first-time guests. Either way, people are coming to see you, not conduct a white-glove test. Hark! The Herald Doorbell Rings. One source which, understandably, wished to remain anonymous, says, "With my family, there's no notice. They just come and run you over." Avoid having to just say "Go" by scheduling the visit's end before guests arrive. Give new visitors a tour. Present simple ground rules positively. If you'd rather guests not smoke inside, provide an alternative. Demonstrate how to operate remotes and microwaves. If they have free access to the refrigerator, tell them. What "Child" Is This? When guests surprise you with Fido, remain calm. If you don't allow indoor pets, offer your garage, suggest a nearby kennel, or ask that the animal be confined to its carrier. On the flip side, forewarn visitors about your own pets. "I make it known that I have a dog, and the dog lives in the house," says Teresa. "If they can't handle that, they need to find somewhere else to stay." Dance Of The Sugar-Free Plum Fairies. "My husband, Bob, and I talk with guests ahead of time to see if they have any unusual food preferences or dietary needs," says Charlotte. Sidestep the disappointment of a "no, thanks" response to your seven-course meal by determining crowd-pleasing menus ahead of time. Why slave alone in the kitchen while friends reminisce in the den? Prepare several meals in advance. Make double portions and throw the extra in the freezer. Stock up on foods that won't spoil if everyone decides to eat out - or if guests don't show at all. Make breakfast easy for everyone, whether they be early-risers or sleep-ins, by setting out cereal the nightbefore. Sleep In Heavenly Peace. Make guestrooms as dreamy as possible. Test the bed's comfort, imagining yourself as an outsider. Furnish a nightlight, alarm clock, extra blankets and storage space for belongings. Please nightowls with a television with an earphone jack, or magazines to browse in the wee hours. Plan for pallets, in case parents want their small children to sleep in their room. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Choas: If everybody's enjoying themselves, there's no reason to rush friends and family to the door. But if they're there for several days, you should definitely look to them for help. Don't be shy about inviting guests into the kitchen to help chop vegetables or set the table. Playfully toss them a dishtowel after dinner. If they're getting low on clean clothes, show them how to operate your washer and dryer. Point out extra toilet tissue and cleaning supplies under the guest bathroom sink. Oh Holy Nightlife. Explore the local holiday sites together. Have a tentative entertainment schedule set before guests arrive so you can coordinate your plans with theirs. Tug-of-wars over checks are avoided, too, by discussing finances in advance. Will you split expenses, or treat each other? Presenting options in a forthright, cordial manner sets everyone at ease. Be sure to carve out some downtime so your guests can spend some time to themselves, too. AWAY IN A MINIVAN. As the visit winds down, do a room-by-room check to make sure no one's forgotten anything. Help take luggage to the car, then gather everyone together for one last photo, surprising children with a small gift to entertain them on their way home. Hugs. Kisses. Waves. Close the door. Reclaim your recliner. Enjoy the silent night. Comments? Email More >>

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05/07/2010
IconConfessions of A WAHM of Teens By Patricia Chadwick www.parentsandteens.com patti@parentsandteens.com Women work at home for different reasons. Some choose to workat home because of the flexibility it gives them. Some choose to work at home because they want to be their own boss. And some, feeling God's call to raise their families, choose to work at home because a job outside the home takes them away from this awesome responsibility. Those in this last category often call themselves WAHMs. Since I've been a stay-at-home mom, I've always had lots of jobs to help pay for the "extras" in our family. Nothing was ever really long term, just some freelance work here and there, usually where the kids could help me out. My children were always the priority. God did not call me to be the breadwinner of our family, but the heart of it. As my kids continued to grow and become more independent, however, I found that I had more free time to pursue a career of sorts. I didn't want to work outside the home, because I am a firm believer that God's call on a mother's life does not end when the kids reach Middle School. It is essential that a mom be available for her kids - even, no ESPECIALLY, when they are teens. So I found my niche and started working toward establishing myself in the field of writing, working from the computer in my parlor. But I found that while I pursue this new career, I need to be careful that I don't neglect my primary job - being a wife and mother. Many days I have found myself at the computer until late at night while my husband and kids were off taking care of themselves. It really was an easy trap to fall into. I no longer had a toddler to pull at my pant leg or try to climb up into my lap while I was working. And they were really good about it, so it was easy to go back to the computer after supper and work into the night. One day I realized that this was becoming a habit and they were living there lives around me, not with me. Many times we forget that our teenagers need us to be available for them. Our being constantly busy sends a message to our them that other things are more important to us than they are. If we are too absorbed in our work, even while we are home, we will miss valuable opportunities for communication. Children need their mom no matter what the age. Even if they seem all grown up on the outside, they still need their parents to show an interest in and be a part of their lives. God still give us this precious opportunity to mold and shape their lives. If you are like me, a stay-at-home mom who has taken on a new career as a work-at-home mom, let's not forget our true vision for being a WAHM - putting our families first. Patricia Chadwick is a freelance writer and member of Mommy Works At Home, which offers moms the opportunity to earn a good income with a minimal investment. To find out more about how you can actually make money from home and have access to a great WAHM library visit: www.parentsandteens.com/mwah.html . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconDriving Me Crazy! By Patricia Chadwick www.parentsandteens.com One of the biggest milestones in a teenager's life is becoming old enough to obtain his/her driving license. I live in New York State and here 16 is the magic number. I can remember myself, just on the edge of that enchanted birthday, awaiting the day with bated breath. As soon as the day dawned, I crammed for my written test and at 8:00 am sharp, I was down at the DMV taking the test to obtain my learner's permit. And woe to the teen whose birthday happened to be on the weekend during that 16th year! They'd have to wait until the following Monday to take their written test to obtain their learner's permit! Did you ever notice how history has a way of repeating itself? Now, 20 years later, my oldest has his learner's permit and my daughter, who is fifteen and counting, is chomping at the bit for her 16th birthdayto roll around. Now, as my dear mother would say, it's payback time! I now know what they went through with a cocky teenager behind the wheel of the family car, learning how to drive! My first teaching experience with my son was a real trip. Not being a very "machine oriented" young man, it was interesting watching him acquaint himself with the driver's side of the car. His main concern was how to keep one arm out the window, be able to turn the car stereo to the correct station, and keep one hand on the wheel at all times! Needless to say, Junior wasn't happy when I insisted on closed windows, both hands on the wheel, and the radio OFF! But he got over it! Soon we were buzzing down the highway at a good clip of 20 miles an hour. It was a little harder than he imagined! One of our first trips was to his workplace where he very suavely went to the drive-through window and placed an order. The smile on his face as his co-workers "oohed ahhed" over him being behind the driver's wheel was worth my racing heart as he just missed crashing into the building as we rounded the corner to the pick-up window. Not being totally cold-hearted, I did let him keep the window down and play the radio until we were out of sight! Since my son began learning to drive, my daughter has been anticipating her own chance to get behind the wheel. Periodically she nags me to let her drive - without her learner's permit. Upon her request my hearty laugh can be heard echoing throughout the entire neighborhood. She is not amused. After I quit laughing, I try to assure her that soon it will be her turn. They grow up so fast, don't they? One day you are pushing them in a stroller and the next they are pushing you to let them drive your car! But it's all a part of life and rather than fight it, I've decided toaccept it. All I can do is teach them how to be responsible and handle their new-found freedoms and privileges with caution. Patti Chadwick is a SAHM of 3 wonderful teens. Visit her websites at: www.historyswomen.com and www.parentsandteens.com Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconOn Hand Presents Make Gift Giving Easy By Cheryl Gochnauer "Mommy, Billy's birthday party is tomorrow." Not quite ready for the wakeup call you received while tucking your child in tonight? Don't let "Surprise!" take all the fun out of your gift giving. Instead, pull together a stash of unisex presents and packaging so you'll never flip out at last-minute party announcements again. Party On. With 8 children ranging in age from 4 to 15, Kansas mom Elaine Munyan is a hearty advocate of pre-stocking. "If I run across a good deal, like specials on coloring books, paints, crayons, markers - anything like that - I buy a whole bunch," Munyan says. "That way, when a birthday creeps up unexpectedly, I can just take my child shopping in my closet." A suggested hoard for youngsters: beanbag dolls, books, travel-sized games, art supplies, yo-yos, zoo passes, sidewalk chalk and bubbles. When shopping at discount stores, keep your eyes peeled for clearance signs. I found a cart at Wal-Mart that had Winnie the Pooh journal/stationery sets, normally $7.95, slashed to $1.00 each. I bought eight presents for the price of one, and now I'm set for girls' birthday parties through the end of the year. Grown-Up Gifts. It's nice to have presents for adults on hand, too, especially during the holidays, when seldom-seen friends can drop in unexpectedly. Consider stashing some movie passes, gift certificates, or flavored coffees and teas. Teens appreciate candles, salsas, and calligraphy pens. All of these are relatively small items that can be stored easily. I recently spotted dessert bread mixes (cranberry, pecan, banana, carrot, etc.) on sale for $1.50 each. I'd been saving my bread mix coupons for several months, anticipating such a sale. The grocery store doubled my coupons, slashing my cost to 50-60 cents a box. I bought 16 mixes, a total investment of about $9.00. Throughout the Christmas season, I'll bring fresh bread (wrapped in colorful cellophane with a bow) whenever I'm asked to provide treats. The loaves make great gifts for teachers and neighbors, too. Eye of The Beholder. Traditional giftwrap and bows work fine, but why not mix packaging up a bit? "We're doing a lot of mesh bags," says Ken Hamilton, owner of Bugs Ear Gifts in Liberty, Missouri. "People pick out what they want, put it in a bag, and we tie it off with a bow." The empty colorful mesh bags are reusable, made from recycled products, and sell for under a dollar. Scrunch a bunch in your closet to fill when that unexpected invitation comes your way. Here's a tip for fun kids' or baby shower presents. Take plastic sand buckets, decorate them with paint pens and stickers, then fill with small gifts. Store already assembled buckets on a top shelf for easy grab-and-go. In a pinch, a paper sack can be transformed into a personalized gift bag using paint pens, stickers and crayons. Colored newspaper comics still make nifty wrapping paper, too. Instead of spending time browsing greeting card racks, keep a stack of unlined colored index cards and a set of pinking shears handy. Cut an index card into a fanciful shape, write a personal heartfelt sentiment, then use ribbon to attach it to a gift. It's Outta Here. If you exchange gifts with out-of-town friends and family, don't forget to set aside the necessary shipping materials. Keep a couple of padded envelopes on hand, along with brown wrapping paper and sturdy packing tape. Stockpile small gifts and packaging for unexpected surprises, and you'll put a wrap on unplanned shopping frenzies. www.SheLovesGod.Com is holding their second annual Virtual Women's Conference this week, and Cheryl is leading the "Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom" teleclass on Thursday, October 18. For more details on how to sign up for this almost-free event (long distance phone charges may apply), visit www.shelovesgod.com/classes/ . Copyright 2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconMoments for Mom by Elisabeth K. Corcoran My precious Sara. A girly girl through and through. Last year she went through a bit of a phase of wearing a leotard (fully loaded with tutu and crown and scepter, I might add) around the house just for kicks. Like, every day, basically. I thought it was cute, until I tried to take her out in public and she refused to put on anything else. Well, now, her preference is a dress. Every day. Even if we#146;re just hanging out at home. So in my attempt to appease my daughter#146;s boycott on pants, I have done my best to stock up on all kinds of dresses. Ones she can just kick around in at home, some for school, and some for church. Now, I also stumbled upon about 3 really wonderful dresses that I am saving for the holidays #150; these beauties will be perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year#146;s and all the festivities in between. Here#146;s the thing. A ways back, when tackling the clothing switch project (removing all summer clothes from her closet and replacing them with fall winter), I filled her closet with all of her new dresses#133;including those sparkly, furry, dressy dresses set apart just for the holidays. Well, you can just imagine her first glimpse into that closet #150; it was like a brand new wardrobe. So many choices (so many decisions!) #150; she now had a reason to change her outfit two and three and four times a day! (Oy vay!) But with as much flair as any human can muster, with that same human nature always looking for something they can#146;t have #150; she asked to wear, each day, her Christmas dresses. And each day, for about three weeks, I told her the same thing, "No, honey #150; we#146;re saving those for special occasions." And each day she#146;d pitch a mini fit and we#146;d have it out.Until one day this week. She was deciding what to wear and proclaimed to me, pointing to those exceptional dresses, "But not these, right, Mommy? These are for special times, right?" And before I could say yes, she went on to say, in more wisdom than I usually have, "Mommy, can you just put them away then? I don#146;t even want to see them anymore."The temptation was too much for my precious little girl#146;s heart to bear. She so much wanted to look her most beautiful, but her Mommy knew that if she wore them now, they wouldn#146;t be as special later. And she just couldn#146;t stand being told no anymore. So she asked to have them removed from her life until they could actually be choices in the running again. Wow #150; how I wish I had the wisdom to take a look around my life and see what catches my eye that maybe shouldn#146;t. What person or thing or idea that steals a bit of my heart each day that I know I can#146;t and shouldn#146;t be even mulling over #150; and then taking matters into my own hands and removing the enticement from my life. Maybe I#146;ll just have to do that. Because my God, who occasionally says no to me, knows what He#146;s talking about too. But how much easier on my heart to not even have something in front of me that makes me drift in the first place. More >>

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