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Parenting
05/07/2010
IconThe Trouble With Fat Kids Men's Health Magazine It's Halloween night, the last trick-or-treater's gone, you're staring at your kid's bulging bag of candy on the table. As you open the bag and begin to eye the treats hungrily, you askyourself: "Is there any chance some of this candy could actually be good for my kids?" "You bet!" says a special report in the November issue of MEN'S HEALTH magazine. Or at least let's say that you, as the parent, could use that candy to teach your kids a few things about nutrition and self-control... ...which would be a very good idea since kids in the US are quickly becoming overweight and obese at an almost-epidemic rate. Take a look around you...childhood obesity is a giant problem. In fact, here's some shocking statistics...just days before Halloween: ONE IN SEVEN U.S. KIDS IS OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE, a jump of 50% in 20 years. A KID'S RISK OF BECOMING OBESE DOUBLES FOR EVERY HOUR OF TV HE WATCHES...and the average kid watches 21 hours of TV a week. THE AVERAGE KID EATS ABOUT 1,900 CALORIES EVERY DAY...but their bodies only need 800-1,300. AND HERE'S THE KILLER: Fat kids grow up to be fat adults...and are at dramatically greater risk of succumbing to diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer and other diseases associated being overweight. DO STATISTICS LIKE THESE SCARE YOU? They should. BUT HERE'S THE STATISTIC THAT SHOULD SCARE YOU THE MOST: A kid's #1 role model when it comes to diet and healthy-eating are his parents... ...so what you do next with your kid's bag of Halloween candy may determine whether he or she grows up to be healthy and fit, or fat and plagued with significant health problems for life. Because the rate at which kids in the U.S. are becoming overweight and obese is at a level that is almost-epidemic, Men's Health magazine is offering a special report on childhood obesity titled: " The Trouble with Fat Kids ". (Not all content in MensHealth.com is endorsed by the Dr. Laura Program) This special report is stuffed full of tips and ideas on how you, as the parent, can take control of your family's weight and the future of their health. For more information on MEN'S HEALTH, go to www.menshealth.com . (Not all content in MensHealth.com is endorsed by the Dr. Laura Program) Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconMom On A Mission Homebodies By Cheryl Gochnauer Cheryl@homebodies.org Copyright 2001 Do you ever feel like queen of your castle? After years of working for somebody else, I like the perk of having time to polish my own 1400 square foot domain. It may not be the Taj Mahal, but it's mine. Well, mine and the bank's. Anyway, now that I get to spend my days here instead of at the office, I've had time to explore every corner, and I've discovered that I like keeping a tidy house. Don't worry; I'm not perfect. But like my high-maintenance hero in When Harry Met Sally, I know what I want, and I'm not afraid to ask for it. I want a clutter-free house. Toy-strewn bath and shower stalls bug meas much as over-stuffed file cabinets used to. Along the same lines,though I may have bought them at thrift stores or clearance sales, I like clothes that match, and furniture that fits. Every so often, I take a critical walk down the halls and through the rooms. Lights pop on in closets and the basement bares its secreted junk. Peeking under beds and over railings, out-of-place and under-used items are illuminated by my analytical high-beams. My daughters sense a garage sale looming, and suddenly toys they have ignored for months become precious. You would not believe the tugs-of-war I've gotten into over ratty old blankets and dresses two sizes too small. "Look - it still fits!" Karen models her favorite high-water jeans with the top button undone. Desperately she rallies support for its matching shirt. "...And if I pull down the sleeves and hold my arms like this.... Mom! I want that!" I'm getting smarter. Most of the time, I do my dirty work while the kids are away. Like the sticky-fingered Grinch, I silently stalk toy boxes and laundry baskets. This works really well. It may be years before one of them turns around and says, "Didn't I used to have.... Mom!" I have no regrets. You just have to have a plan. For instance, take disposing of tattered artwork that has languished in a discarded backpack for six months. Shake off the old cookie crumbs, then bury the picture deep in a black trash bag. Don't trust those thin bags you can see through. If you do, the piece will come back to haunt you, plucked from oblivion as a now spaghetti-splattered work of art, magneted back in its hallowed spot on the refrigerator door. I especially enjoy getting rid of those games with 1,001 pieces. I don't think there is any real object to those games, except to scatter the pieces and leave. Territory markers, that's what they are. Well, this is my territory and there are no squatters allowed! Into the garage sale box they go. Believe it or not, the kids usually don't realize the game is gone until they see it out on the driveway with a sticker on it. Another note: Send the kids to Grandma's on garage sale day. Otherwise, they'll be chasing cars like schnauzers and half your inventory will end up in a reverent pile in the middle your child's bed. The perfect solution for kiddy clutter? Sell it to a neighbor with youngsters near the same age as yours. That way, your children can go over to their house, scatter the pieces, and then come home. Both you and your kids are happy! As a seasoned mother and unmuddler, I stand behind the advice given above. I've only been burned on this system once. There was this stuffed animal, you see, who had been lying in a haphazard heap in the corner one month too long. It was whisked away during one of my whirlwind tours, and tagged to sell. When Little Red realized her Ballerina Bear had a new home, there was a scene I could have sold movie rights for. I guess I should have let that bear gather another year's worth of dust. Instead, I unwittingly gave my daughter and a future support group something to talk about. But, HEY - my house looks great! Comments? Email Cheryl@homebodies.org or visit www.homebodies.org , where you can interact with other moms on the lively messageboards. Cheryl's books, " So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom " (InterVarsity Press, 1999), " Stay-at-Home Handbook: Advice on Parenting, Finances, Career, Surviving Each Day More " (InterVarsity Press, 2002) and "Mom to Mom: Committing Our Children to God" (Beacon Hill Press, 2002) are all available by visiting Cheryl's webpage at http://www.gospelcom.net/homebodies/experts/cgochnauer/index.php . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon200+ Ideas For Summertime -- Or Anytime -- Fun! Copyright Deborah Taylor-Hough Used with permission. All rights reserved. hometown.aol.com/dsimple/ Since we don't use the phrase "I'm bored!" in our home,we never hear our kids complaining about being boredduring those long days at home during the summermonths. But ... I have to admit that we're still anincredibly normal family. Even without the "b-word" in their vocabulary, there arestill those times when my three children (ages 16, 12and 8) just seem to be at a total loss for something constructive to do. On one of those "I-can't-think-of-anything-to-do" days,I had my children sit down and make a list of everythingthey could do completely on their own without parentalhelp. After they brainstormed about it for over an hour(which was a good anti-boredom activity itself), thekids had a list of about fifty activities. Surprisingly,they even included a few household chores like dustingand weeding! I decided to ask for input from some othermoms, and now my children have a list of over twohundred ideas to beat summertime boredom, and thelist just seems to keep growing. Thanks to the suggestion of one mom, we've put eachitem on this list onto individual pieces of paper, placedthe papers into a container, and when the children need inspiration for an activity, they draw two or three papers and then decide which idea they want to do, either as a group or individually. The mom who suggested pulling ideas out of a container told me she found this method more helpful than giving the kids a huge list of possibilities. By narrowing the choices down to just two or three, it was easier for the kids to pick out the one that sounded the best to them. 200+ IDEAS FOR SUMMERTIME ACTIVITIES In no particular order, here's our current (but continuallygrowing!) list of activities: ride bikes roller blade basketball play board games make a tent out of blankets squirt with hoses run through the sprinkler jump rope read books blow bubbles make homemade play dough play with play dough press flowers do crafts with pressed flowers write a letter to a relative, friend or pen pal clean bedroom vacuum livingroom clean bathroom make a craft draw color paint pull weeds watch a movie write stories use binoculars use magnifying glass use microscope bird watching write a play act out a play invent circus acts perform a circus play card games make art on the front walkway with sidewalk chalk play catch play baseball collect rocks collect leaves collect feathers play Frisbee make Frisbee's out of old plastic lids, decorate with markers dust the house brush the pet write letters read a magazine play dress-up play Cowboys pick vegetables play outside with the pet build a fort in your rooms build a fort in the backyard do a jigsaw puzzle play on the Geosafari play on the computer listen to a story or book on tape do extra schoolwork to get ahead do brain teasers (ie: crosswords, word searches,hidden pictures, mazes, etc.) cook prepare lunch surprise a neighbor with a good deed play store prepare a "restaurant" lunch with menus hold a tea party have a Teddy bear picnic play with toy cars play dolls play house chase butterflies collect caterpillars and bugs plant a garden or a pot collect seeds hunt for four-leaf clovers learn magic tricks put on a magic show plant a container garden sprout seeds or beans make sock puppets put on a puppet show make Christmas presents make homemade wrapping paper make homemade gift cards make picture frames from twigs glued onto sturdycardboard crochet or knit make doll clothes sew buttons in designs on old shirts run relay races make bookmarks take a quiet rest time take a shower or bath bathe a pet feed the birds or squirrels watch the clouds organize a dresser drawer clean under the bed empty dishwasher vacuum under the couch cushions and keep anychange found write these ideas on pieces of paper and pick outone or two to do whittle whittle bars of soap practice musical instruments perform a family concert teach yourself to play musical instrument (recorder, harmonica, guitar) fold laundry sweep kitchen or bathroom floors sweep front walkway sweep or spray back patio sweep or spray driveway wash car vacuum car vacuum or dust window blinds clean bathroom mirrors clean sliding glass doors clean inside of car windows wash bicycles clean garage play in the sandbox build a sandcastle work with clay copy your favorite book illustration design your own game build with blocks or Legos create a design box (copper wire, string, odds-and-ends of things destined for the garbage, pom-poms, thread, yarn, etc.) plan a neighborhood or family Olympics have a marble tournament paint a picture with lemon juice on white paper andhang it in a sunny window and see what happens in afew days finger paint with pudding make dessert make dinner give your pet a party paint the sidewalk with water start a journal of summer fun start a nature diary have a read-a-thon with a friend or sibling have a neighborhood bike wash play flashlight tag play Kick the Can check out a science book and try some experiments make up a story arrange photo albums find bugs and start a collection do some stargazing decorate bikes or wagons and have a neighborhoodparade catch butterflies and then let them go play hide-and-seek create a symphony with bottles and pans and rubberbands listen to the birds sing try to imitate bird calls read a story to a younger child find shapes in the clouds string dry noodles or O-shaped cereals into a necklace glue noodles into a design on paper play hopscotch play jacks make up a song make a teepee out of blankets write in your journal find an ant colony and spill some food and watchwhat happens play charades make up a story by drawing pictures draw a cartoon strip make a map of your bedroom, house or neighborhood call a friend cut pictures from old magazines and write a story make a collage using pictures cut from old magazines do a secret service for a neighbor plan a treasure hunt make a treasure map make up a "Bored List" of things to do plan a special activity for your family search your house for items made in other countriesand then learn about those countries from the encyclopediaor online plan an imaginary trip to the moon plan an imaginary trip around the world, where wouldyou want to go write a science-fiction story find a new pen pal make up a play using old clothes as costumes make up a game for practicing math facts have a Spelling Bee make up a game for practicing spelling surprise an elderly neighbor or relative by weeding his/her garden fingerpaint with shaving cream collect sticks and mud and build a bird's nest write newspaper articles for a pretend newspaper put together a family newsletter write reviews of movies or plays or tv shows orconcerts you see during the summer bake a cake bake a batch of cookies decorate a shoe box to hold your summer treasures make a hideout or clubhouse make paper airplanes have paper airplane races learn origami make an obstacle course in your backyard make friendship bracelets for your friends make a wind chime out of things headed for thegarbage paint your face braid hair play tag make a sundial make food sculptures (from pretzels, gumdrops,string licorice, raisins, cream cheese, peanuts, peanutbutter, etc.) and then eat it make a terrarium start a club take a nap outside on your lawn produce a talent show memorize a poem recite a memorized poem for your family Have a wonderful summer! (And for all you people inthe Southern Hemisphere, feel free to save this articlefor December reading!) ABOUT THE AUTHOR: --Deborah Taylor-Hough (wife and mother of three) is a free-lance writer, editor of the Simple Times ezine, author of the bestselling book " Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month " and the newly released "Frugal Living For Dummies(r)" (Wiley, 2003). Visit Debi online and subscribe to her free e-newsletter at: hometown.aol.com/dsimple/ . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconTo Roast or Not to Roast! By Tawra Kellam Peter Piper Picked a Profoundly Plump Pumpkin -- Now what does he do with it? Every Fall I get many questions about what to do with pumpkins. Many people find curious fascination in imagining what it would be like to grow these versatile little gems, as if growing something that produces a large fruit is somehow more respectable than growing, say, a Serrano pepper. Many people eventually venture into pumpkin experimentation. Some succeed and many fail. Much like a dog that chases a car, many people never give thought to what they would do if they actually succeeded in successfully raising a patch of these fall favorites. Whether you have found yourself with more pumpkins than you know what to do with or you are one of the people who had to buy pumpkins and duct tape them to the vine, these tips for roasting and using pumpkins are sure to help you make the most out of them (no matter how you acquired them)! How to Roast a Pumpkin You can only do this with a freshly carved pumpkin! Do not use on a pumpkin that has been carved and sitting out for several days. To bake a fresh 6 to 7 pound pumpkin, halve the pumpkin crosswise and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place halves, hollow side down, in a large baking pan covered with aluminum foil and add a little water. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 1 to 2 hours or until fork-tender. Remove. When cool, scrape pulp from shells and puree, a little at time, in food processor or blender. Mix with a little salt. To freeze pumpkin puree. Put 1-2 cups in freezer bags along with spices and use in pies. To use pumpkin puree for recipes: Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth or a flour sack dish towel and let the pumpkin sit to drain out the extra moisture BEFORE cooking with it. Pumpkin is very moist, so in order for your recipe to come out correctly, you MUST strain it. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Boil seeds in water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt. Place a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 250 degrees. Stir after 30 minutes. Bake 1 hour more or until crunchy. *Squash seeds may also be used. Pumpkin Pancakes 2 cups flour 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed 1 Tbsp. baking powder 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice 1 tsp. salt 1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional) 1 cup pumpkin 1 large egg 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 1 cups milk Combine ingredients. Stir just until moistened; batter may be lumpy. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat; brush lightly with vegetable oil. Pour cup batter onto hot griddle; cook until bubbles begin to burst. Turn and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with Pumpkin Maple Sauce and nuts. Pumpkin Maple Sauce 1 cup maple syrup 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice 1 cups pumpkin Mix together until well blended. Tawra Kellam is the author of the frugal cookbook Not Just Beans: 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites and Halloween On A Dime. For more free tips and recipes visit our website at www.notjustbeans.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconWHISTLE WHILE THEY WORK - by Cheryl Gochnauer Shirley, a stay-at-home Missouri mother whose children are now grown,clearly remembers the challenges of teaching kids to help out around thehouse. "If there was a trash bag sitting in the middle of the hallway,Cheryl would yell, 'Mom, do you want me to pick this up?' Rob would walkaround it. Jimmy, the youngest, would kick it down the hall. None of themwould do the right thing from the start - simply pick it up and take it tothe dumpster." I can't believe she hasn't gotten over that "trash bag in the hallway" thingyet. Mom, that was 35 years ago! As your Homebodies hostess and Shirley's reformed daughter, this is the partof the column where I'm supposed to give you some wonderful advice onraising tidy kids. I have to admit, however, that training my own daughtersto do their chores has been more than a little challenging. Neither my kids nor any of my friends' kids were born with a naturalinclination to whistle while they work. In fact, I think the trend pointsthe other way. From what I've observed, most children work very hard inavoiding any kind of household labor. Don't feel alone as you're telling your child to clean up his room - again.Avoid throwing your hands up in despair when faced with a bombed outbathroom. Your sisters have been there, and are fighting the same battlesnow with their children. Calmness, clarity and consistency seem to help.(Resist screaming, which may get the chore done but demoralizes bothscreamer and screamee.) Be very specific about what you want done, how andwhen. Make sure everyone understands the goal, tying penalties and rewardsto the outcome. If they fail to do the job, don't hesitate to impose sanctions! Tomorrow, do it again: calmness, clarity, consistency. Calmness, clarity,consistency. Wear them down. Repeat after me: You are the parent; youwill prevail! Time for me to take my own advice. I'm downstairs finishing up laundry whenthe oven timer goes off, announcing the cake is done. I know Karen is doingher homework at the kitchen table, approximately 10 feet from the oven. Ikeep folding shirts as the buzzer continues to blare. After about threeminutes of incessant beeping, Karen crosses to the staircase (which,incidentally, is farther away than the oven) and yells: "Mom, do you want me to turn this off?" Must be genetic. (Comments? Write Cheryl@homebodies.org , or visit her website at www.homebodies.org . Her book, " So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom ," isavailable through Dr. Laura#146;s Reading Corner . Copyright2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.) More >>

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05/07/2010
IconSchool's Out - And Mom's Stressed By Cheryl Gochnauer Your children are counting down the days, and so are you - but with adifferent attitude. What am I going to do with these kids all summer? If you're working full or part-time outside the home, it's gnawing torealize your take-home pay over the next three months will drop dramaticallyas you provide all-day childcare for your elementary-aged children. But stay-at-home moms encounter their own challenges - keeping their kidsentertained all day. If your little ones aren't in school yet and you already spend every wakinghour with them, you may be wondering what the fuss is all about. You lovethem; you spend time with them. The End. Good attitude. That's the one we're going for. But sometimes it feels morecomplicated than that. I remember the transition I went through when my youngest daughter startedfirst grade. For the first time in my parenting life, I had a tremendousamount of freedom. I put my kids on the bus at 8:15 a.m. and, unless therewas a problem or I was volunteering at school, I didn't see them until theygot off the bus at 4:15 p.m. My house never looked better, my work-at-home freelancing opportunitiespicked up, and I even got to enjoy the occasional matinee, since my kidswouldn't miss me, anyway. But as summer loomed, I had to face the fact that they were coming back. Myhouse would be trashed, my writing time slashed, and I'd be back to movieswith animated characters. Now don't send me lots of nasty emails about how I'd become a spoiled brat.(I know that already!) I'm simply being transparent here, and I suspectmany readers have experienced similar pangs as they felt their independencebeing reined in again. If you've got the end-of-school blues, snap out of it! We've got someawesome kids, and summer provides a great opportunity to reconnect withthem. They've changed a lot since last June, and as they grow, so do theirabilities. Plan activities that intrigue their inquisitive minds and re-establish theall-day bonding process. Set work concerns and personal projects on theback burner. If you work from home as I do, limit the number of assignmentsor tasks you tackle during the summer months. Cut back on volunteering, ortake this opportunity to get your kids involved, too, helping others as afamily. There's a lot to be said for downtime. It's good for our children to take avacation from their studies, and we can turn summer into a renewal time forus, too. With a bit of an attitude adjustment, I'm learning to appreciatethese school-free months as the blessing they are. (Comments? Email Cheryl@homebodies.org or visit her website at www.homebodies.org . Check your local listings for Cheryl's appearances onCornerstone Television's "Getting Together" and "His Place" programs on June10th. Copyright 2002 Homebodies.Org, LLC.)Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconTHE NEW FRONT LINE IN PARENTING By Cheryl Gochnauer I recently received the following email from Carrie, a Homebodies readerfrom California. Her comments were well-expressed and thought-provoking. I'd like to share them with you. "I am a stay-at-home mom to my two-year-old daughter, Madeline. When I amnot changing diapers, filling juice cups, playing in the sandbox or blowingbubbles (not to mention hanging out the laundry, putting away the cleandishes, loading up the dirty dishes, picking up toys, etc.), I sometimeswrite or design websites. "Today was a two-year-old day. My daughter wasn't listening to a word I wassaying. If I said, "Go up," she'd yell "NO!" and go down. By the end of theday, I was fried! But you know, I wouldn't trade the worst day at home forthe best day at an outside job. My husband, who is a steadfast supporter ofdoing what's best for our daughter, hence, my staying home, gets a bitjealous at times. And who can blame him? I have the best job on earth, andit pays nothing in terms of money, but is priceless in terms of what it doesfor my soul. "My husband likes me at home for other reasons. A fastidious housekeeper, wecan both well imagine what life would be like if I worked outside the homeand then had to come home and complete my chores. That little person wouldget lost in the shuffle, be told to get out of the way, and be snapped at,I'm sure. "I was part of a generation that was sold a bill of goods on working outsidethe home. I was in honors classes and graduated a semester early with a 3.87GPA. I went to college and did well there, too. Along the way, I was toldwhile sitting in class, 'Don't have babies, and if you do, don't let it interfere with your success.' We were groomed to become the next front line of the feminist revolution. We were bred to be the next generation of materialists and consumers. "I have seen the results of the warehousing of children in my own extendedfamily. My niece and nephew are a breeding ground for every virus on theplanet. Parents regularly, knowingly, send their children into day caresick, since they have important meetings and appointments. My niece has hadover 100 different providers in the centers she's been to. She never knowswho will be taking care of her in any five-minute time period. She whines,cries, and we have watched her go from the bubbly baby new to daycare to thesullen first grader who looks as if she knows too much about getting lost inthe shuffle. "I am part of a new front line - those of us who are reclaiming our pride inparenting. Those of us who know that Quality Time cannot be scheduled. IfMaddie wants a bubble bath at 2:16 in the afternoon, she can have one. Ifshe wants to color at 4:27, we can. In between it all, I make sure theironing, vacuuming, mopping and cleaning are done by the time my husbandgets home. Because of this, our stress level as a family is down, and ourenjoyment of the home up. "I thank you for being a member of this force as well, because we are doingbattle. The rocks are being hurled at the castle, and it is us who stay athome who are the ones fortifying our homes in order that the attack notreach inside. Sincerely, Carrie Forest Ranch, CA (Comments? Contact Carrie or Cheryl by writing Cheryl@homebodies.org . Also stop by www.homebodies.org where you can interact with other parents on a variety of lively message boards. Her book, " So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom ," isavailable through Dr. Laura#146;s Reading Corner . Copyright2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.) More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon"Raising Helen" 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. #147;Raising Helen#148; is romantic, stylish and downright funny. Phil Boatwright, The Movie Reporter Raising Helen. Starring: Kate Hudson, Helen Mirren, Joan Cusack, John Corbett, HectorElizondo. Disney. Comedy. Director: Garry Marshall. Kate Hudson plays Helen, an up-and-coming assistant to the boss (Helen Mirren) of a modeling agency. But her career plans are put on hold after her sister (Felicity Huffman) and brother-in-law are killed in a car crash, leaving her to care for their three kids, ages 5 to 15. She gets help from another older sister, the bossy Jenny (Joan Cusack), and a pastor (John Corbett), who falls in love with Helen while guiding her down life's new path. Though you could find the same dilemmas surface in a bad made-for-TV melodrama, director Garry Marshall avoids the trappings of television sitcom. Applying his well-honed theatrical abilities, the creator of #147;Happy Days#148; and director of #147;Pretty Woman#148; and #147;The Flamingo Kid#148; gently develops both story and character, carefully avoiding maudlin schlock during the sensitive scenes, utilizing kid actors without cutesy preciousness, and finding humor in everyday situations, making the obvious seem fresh #150; or at least honest. What#146;s more, he adds a moral structure seldom used in comic movies. Although religious teachings are not on the production#146;s main menu, they are gently simmering on the back burner. Perhaps the best example of this is the use of a Christian school and minister. The lead takes her charges to a private religious school, and although it is obvious that she has not been a churchgoer, the humor never mocks religious beliefs. Rather, the jokes show how little non-churchgoers actually know about the Christian faith. John Corbett (#147;Northern Exposure,#148; #147;My Big Fat Greek Wedding#148;) portrays the Lutheran pastor and school master. And get this, he has a sense of humor, he#146;s intelligent, able to take charge, and I believe most ladies will find him to be a romantic hunk. The filmmakers avoid cartoonish caricature while presenting this man of God. Ranking with movie portraits of ministers such as Fredric March in #147;One Foot In Heaven,#148; Joel McCrea in #147;Stars in My Crown,#148; and Richard Todd in #147;A Man Called Peter,#148; John Corbett fleshes out a constructive screen version of a man of the cloth. Garry Marshall has to get comedy out of heartbreak. The parents of these three kids have passed away. The director is sensitive to this. There is a scene with the kids huddled in their parents#146; closet after the funeral. When discovered, the littlest one says, #147;It smells like Mommy.#148; If you don#146;t tear up at that, have your pulse checked. But the movie isn#146;t about the passing of the parents. Rather it is about the growth of its main character, Helen, as she discovers what#146;s really important in life. Kate Hudson won my heart in #147;Almost Famous,#148; the best film of 2001 (though Oscar disagreed, giving the statuette to the makers of #147;Gladiator.#148; Oh please.) However, since her screen deacute;but as Penny Lane, a teen rock groupie, Ms. Hudson has struggled to find the right character and film. Wanting to follow in her mom#146;s (Goldie Hawn) formidable funny footsteps, the young comedian has floundered about in one disappointing romantic comedy after another. Never has the disappointment been due to her performance, but rather with the material, which has never seemed to compliment her uniqueness. Not that #147;Raising Helen#148; will garner her Best Actress attention. When an actor makes it look easy, award committees underestimate the artistry. And Kate Hudson makes it look very easy. Pretty, perky, and already a pratfall pro, Ms. Hudson is loaded with comic charms as well as charisma and genuine warmth. Her role as Helen allows her to showcase all her best traits. #147;Raising Helen#148; is one of the few and far between films the Christian community is always saying they want. Witty, involving, even perceptive, it is a movie that thoroughly entertains without crudity, profanity or exploitive sexuality. #147;Raising Helen#148; is romantic, stylish and downright funny. PG-13 (In my opinion, the film receives its PG-13 rating for rather arbitrary reasons. I think it is a very clean movie. The content is not used to exploit, but rather help further the story and show the need for parental involvement. According to the MPAA, it gets the PG-13 for a scene depicting a teen party and because a boy takes a girl to a motel after the prom. Nothing happens at the motel. The scene is there to show Helen having to behave like a concerned parent as she arrives to rescue the girl. Also, just before the cavalry arrives, the look on the teen girl#146;s face relays the girl#146;s awareness that she is not ready for sexual involvement, which may send a positive message to teens about abstinence. While this character harbors a great deal of female teen angst, she is also loving and responsible, often displaying these affections for her younger siblings.) 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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