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05/07/2010
IconMake Time For Your Teen By Patti Chadwick We live in a fast-paced world. Our lives are so full of things that need to be completed that from morning until evening we are in perpetual motion. Amidst the hustle and bustle we need to carve out the time to spend with our teens. You are probably wondering just how to do this. You are busy#133;your teen is just as busy! Make no mistake, it will take both time and effort, especially if you have more than one child, but it will be worth it. Begin by looking at the schedules of the entire family. Can you find free times and make a #147;date#148; with your teen to get a soda, have lunch, or go for a walk in the park? If your schedules are impossible #150; all is not lost! You just need to be resourceful! Do you need to take your teen to the dentist or doctor? Take a little extra time to make the time alone special. Use your time alone in the car to talk instead of listening to the radio. After the appointment, stop at a coffee shop for a drink and a chat. Do you have an errand to run? Ask one of your kids to tag along. Does your teen have a project due? I bet they could use an extra pair of helping hands. Maybe they just need someone to bounce ideas off of #150; let that someone be you! Let#146;s not forget dinnertime. Try to eat as many meals together as possible #150; and make mealtimes a relaxing time filled with good conversation as well as great food. I encourage you to be creative. Think outside the box. Find the time to spend with your teenager. You both will benefit from the times you share together. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconAsking Great Questions By Patti Chadwick Do you want to know what your teen is really thinking? Try asking great questions. Too many times we ask closed questions that require only a #147;yes#148; or #147;no#148; answer. Does this sound familiar: #147;How was school?#148; #147;Good#148; #147;Do you have homework?#148; #147;No#148; #147;How was the game#148; #147;Okay#148; We need to learn to ask specific questions that require thought and will encourage conversation. Why not try some of these: Was that test in Spanish as hard as you thought? What were some of the questions on it? Which question was the hardest for you? Who scored the highest in the basketball game after school? Were there any amazing plays? How many people came to Lindsay#146;s birthday party last night? What kind of presents did she get. On a more personal level why not try asking things like: What do you think Heaven looks like? What kind of person would you like to marry? What#146;s the nicest thing I ever did for you? What#146;s the best thing you remember from your childhood? If you could travel anywhere in the world #150; where would you like to visit? Why? The list could go on and on#133;and it should! Why not make your own and begin asking your teen questions that will lead to meaningful conversations. Patti Chadwick is the creator of Parents Teens found at www.parentsandteens.com . She is also the author ofMISSION POSSIBLE: RAISING GREAT TEENS! and LOOK UP! A 30-Day Devotional Journal for Teens. Both books are available on her website in both ebook and print formats. Click to purchase Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconThe Importance of the Family Dinner Table By Leanne Ely Copyright (c) 2002 "Dinner! Come to the table!" Do you remember your mom hollering that very statement when you were a kid? Do you remember running down the stairs to familiar smells and rushing to take your place at the table? The family dinner table is a place of communion, fellowship and a means of reconnecting with those we care about the most. Over a simple dinner of scrambled eggs or more elaborate family fare of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, important stuff happens. Relationships are realigned, the news of the day is exchanged and coming events are discussed. More importantly, memories are made for both adults and children. One day, your child will look back on all those dinners around the family table with fondness. One day, you too will look back wistfully, actually missing the chaos of trying to get everyone to the table while the meal was still hot! Unfortunately, today's family dinner table is all but missing from the home. We have sacrificed our family table for all manner of activities and way too often, our meals are situated around the blue glow of the family television. Conversation is limited to pass the salt and stony silence while the blare of TV fills the room. But actually making the meals is a big issue, too. Women are busy, tired, exhausted and overwhelmed with responsibility. Mom works hard at home all day. Making menus to post on the refrigerator doesn't happen anymore because there is "no time". Going to the grocery store usually means going without a list and throwing a bunch of prepackaged stuff into the cart because dinner needs to be easy and fast. The simple practice of making a menu each week will not only help you provide some structure to the family dinner hour, but also will save you a lot of money on your food budget--so very important to stay-at-home moms. A simple thing like keeping a running grocery list on the fridge will help you avoid last minute trips to the grocery store. Your family will be eating healthier and you won't be as stressed out because you know what's for dinner Tuesday night. And while you might not be able to pull off a Norman Rockwell picture perfect family dinner every night, I bet you could do it at least one night a week. Menus aren't just for restaurants. They deserved a special place of honor on every family's fridge. Leanne Ely is the author of Healthy Foods: An Irreverent Guide to Understanding Nutrition and Feeding Your Family Well and the editor of a weekly paid subscription newsletter called Menu-Mailer. Menu-Mailer will give you the menu, healthy family recipes and a grocery list every week delivered right to your email address. Send mailto: leanneely@aol.com for more information. Author, nutritionist and editor of Menu-Mailer, the answer to that perplexing question, "What's for Dinner?" Need help in the kitchen? more-info@ds.xc.org for more info (autoresponder only) Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconFacing The Daycare Dilemma By Cheryl Gochnauer "In my nearly 9 years of motherhood, I've always wanted to be a stay-at-homemom," says Kass, who has three young sons. "It's not just because I don'tlike working outside the home. It's not because I'm not particularlycareer-minded, or because I love to spend every minute of the day with mywonderfully obnoxious, energetic boys. It's because I simply dread thewhole 'gotta find a babysitter/childcare provider/daycare' baloney!" "In nearly every job I've had, I've left or had to change jobs becausechildcare issues affected my attendance and productivity at work," shecontinues. "Either the kids aren't happy or adjusting, the provider isn'twilling to work with me, or she can't accommodate my working hours anylonger, or I just plain can't afford it." Kass found no help at church or her homeschooling group. Her neighborshaven't worried about daycare in 15 years, and aren't the babysitting type,anyway. Local childcare referral agencies only disappointed her. "One hascats, oops allergies - she's out. Two don't speak English, oh bother. Fourcan't do Saturdays, which I really need to keep my job. The rest want myright arm and left leg - up to $50 more a week than I earn."After a stint as an at-home parent, Kass stepped back into the workforce toput more money in the checkbook. But daycare expenses and aggravationovershadowed the gains she anticipated. "I know childcare providers mustearn a decent living, and so must set their rates to adequately compensatefor their long hours, hard work and expenses," Kass says.She's right; we're not faulting daycares or dedicated people who care forothers' children. But if you're encountering the same headaches as Kass,take a moment to revisit your decision to work outside the home. Are youexploring all your options? Take Daycare Costs Out Of The Equation Work during school hours,telecommute from home, or work an opposite shift so your spouse can watchthe kids. Ask Your Spouse To Work Overtime. Though it's slowly changing, men arestill usually paid more than women. Why work 10 hours if your husband canmake the same amount in 5? (Plus, you won't have to pay for 10 hours ofdaycare.) Look At The Budget --Again!. As Ben Franklin said, a penny saved is a pennyearned. A frugal mindset is an at-home parent's best friend. Cut coupons;shop sales; be creative in using what you've got. For some money-savingideas, read my article, "Dollars and Sense: How I Carved $1000 from OurMonthly Budget", at www.homebodies.org/dollars.html Joanne Watson has written a book I'd like to recommend: "Team Work: How toHelp Your Husband Make More Money, So You Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom." It'sa unique look at helping your spouse in determining if he is underpaid,negotiating his raise, hunting for a higher-paying job or building abusiness of his own. Definitely an idea-sparking book that may provide somealternatives you haven't considered. Request it at your local library orfavorite bookstore. (Comments? Write Cheryl@homebodies.org or visit her website at www.homebodies.org Copyright 2002 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com) More >>

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05/07/2010
IconEmergency Kitchen Substitutions Copyright 2003 Deborah Taylor-Hough Used with permission on DrLaura.com. All rights reserved. http://hometown.aol.com/dsimple/ Do you ever find yourself all geared up and ready to makea favorite recipe ... but then discover you're staring at anempty container of a needed ingredient? Ugh. You don'twant to run out to the store right now. So what do you do? Well, that's when emergency kitchen substitutions comein handy. I've printed out the following list and keep acopy taped to the inside of my pantry door at all times. Although these substitutions will work in a pinch, I don'trecommend always substituting ingredients in your recipes.The recipes will technically work with substitutions, but oftenthe finished product won't be exactly the same as when youuse the original ingredients called for in the recipe. Also, be sure you don't make more than one substitutionin a particular recipe at once. The more ingredients yousubstitute, the more "off" your product will be when you'refinished. EMERGENCY SUBSTITUTIONS: For: 1 Tbsp fresh herb Use: 1/3 to 1/2 tsp dried herb (of the same kind) For: 1 clove garlic Use: 1/8 tsp garlic powder For: 1 egg in baking Use: 1 tsp cornstarch plus 1/4 cup water For: 1 whole egg Use: 2 egg yolks plus 1 Tbsp water For: 1 cup whole fresh milk Use: 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water, OR 1/3 cup dry milk plus 1 cup water For: 1 cup buttermilk Use: 1 cup plain yogurt, OR 1 cup sour milk (4 tsp white vinegar OR lemon juice plus milk to make 1 cup -- let sit for five minutes before using) For: 1 cup sour cream (in baking) Use: 7/8 cup buttermilk OR sour milk plus 3 Tbsp butter For: 1 cup sour cream (in salad dressings, casseroles) Use: 1 cup plain yogurt OR 3/4 cup sour milk plus 1/3 cup butter For: 1 cup cream Use: 1/3 cup butter plus 3/4 cup milk For: 1 cup corn syrup Use: 2/3 cup granulated sugar plus 1/3 cup water For: 1 cup brown sugar Use: 1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 Tbsp molasses For: 1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar Use: 1 cup granulated sugar, packed For: 1 cup margarine or butter (in baking or cooking) Use: 1 cup hard shortening OR 7/8 cup vegetable oil For: 1 square unsweetened chocolate Use: 3 Tbsp cocoa plus 1 Tbsp oil For: 1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate Use: 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate plus 4 tsp sugar For: 3/4 cup cracker crumbs Use: 1 cup bread crumbs For: 1 cup cake flour, sifted Use: 7/8 cup all purpose flour, sifted (1 cup minus 2 Tbsp) For: 1 tsp baking powder Use: 1/3 tsp baking soda plus 1/2 tsp cream of tarter, OR 1/4 tsp baking soda plus 1/3 cup sour milk For: 1 Tbsp cornstarch for thickening Use: 2 Tbsp flour For: 1 Tbsp flour for thickening Use: 1 1/2 tsp corn flour, arrowroot, potato flour, OR rice flour; OR 2 tsp tapioca For: 2 Tbsp tapioca for thickening Use: 3 Tbsp flour ABOUT THE AUTHOR: --Deborah Taylor-Hough (wife and mother of three) is theauthor of the bestselling book, 'Frozen Assets: How tocook for a day and eat for a month,' and the new book,'Frugal Living For Dummies(r)' (Wiley, 2003). You cansubscribe to her newest free newsletter by sending anemail to: tips-and-quips-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Visit Debi at: http://hometown.aol.com/dsimple/ . More >>

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05/07/2010
IconMoments for Mom If I were to ask you to picture your closest friend, does one particular person come to mind? Is it a female??? I would like to share a lesson with you that I am currently working on. Our husbands are our friends. Some of you may be thinking, 'Duh? Of course he is.that's why I married him.' But is he really? And if he isn't, why not? Are you possibly the hindrance in the friendship? I read somewhere that you are your husband's best friend. Even if you can't picture that, look around his life - more than likely he is sharing more with you and depending more on you than he is anyone else. For him, you're it! What are you doing on your end to be his friend? A girlfriend was sharing with me how she noticed that when she talks on the phone with her husband, she was matter-of-fact and curt, even showing disappointment with him. But that when she talked with her girlfriends on the phone, she was lighthearted and kind. I asked my husband a while back what I could do in our marriage for him to be happy. His answer (that cut through my heart and pride), 'be nice to me'. Ouch. Why is it that we forget so quickly that the guy we married - you know, the one we eat with, sleep with, spend with, worship with, have kids with - is actually our friend? So here is something I am currently working on --- I have resolved to myself just recently that I will share with Kevin first. I'm not just referring to stuff about Kevin or our marriage, but church stuff, friend stuff, things I'm struggling with. If I haven't shared it with Kevin, I won't share it with anyone else. As far as specific marital problems go - please don't share these with all of your friends. Either seek out counseling if it's serious enough or if you just feel stuck, or find a woman you can trust who can mentor you in your marriage. Don't allow yourself to get together with your girlfriends and husband-bash. It really does no one any good. So bottom line - ladies, we need to go to our husbands first. Your husband needs to be the most important person in your life. And I don't say this lightly - no matter the state of your marriage relationship. We are called to be wives before and long after our calling to mothering.so please commit with me to make this a priority in your heart and with your time. Elisabeth K. Corcoran, 2002 Elisabeth K. Corcoran is the author of Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom's Weary Soul (2001), which can be purchased directly through her publisher, Kregel Publications at #1-888-644-0500, online at amazon.com or through your local Christian bookstore. This column is original and not excerpted from her book. You can catch Elisabeth at the National Conference of Hearts at Home in Bloomington, IL this March 15-16. She'll be speaking on "Calm in My Chaos" and "When Life Feels Harder Than You Think It Should Be". Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconA Heavy Weight Decision By Patti Chadwick One of my family's New Years Resolutions is to shed some extra pounds. Actually, the resolution was made in December, but it's carried over into the New Year! Over the years I've tried and tried to encourage better eating habits and planning healthy meals for my tribe, but with the busyness of life it seems for every three steps forward we make, we take two steps back. Besides myself and my darling husband, I have two children who struggle with their weight. My eldest boy, however, is a lean-mean-eating machine who eats anything he wants, whenever he wants and somehow never seems to gain weight. Needless to say, the rest of us are not fond of this boy. I guess we are just jealous! I have mixed feelings about teenagers dieting, but I also know what it's like to struggle with your weight. Since my weight was bothering me, and my two children were struggling losing a quite few extra pounds, we decided to take the plunge and get some professional help. We chose to go to LA Weight Loss and so far it's been a very good experience. The counselors were really wonderful and set us up with an individual eating program. We need to keep a food diary and go into the Center three times a week to weigh in and talk to a counselor about how we are doing. This may seem like a lot, but it helps to keep us on track. And while we've had to give up some beloved food items, the eating plan leaves room for some of our favorite dishes. This plan is do-able. Since December, each of us has lost about 13 pounds. That's no small feat for my youngest boy and I. My daughter is at a good weight now, but of course she still think she has to lose about 10 more pounds! Junior is starting to feel pretty good about himself and I feel a lot better physically. This whole experience has been more of a lifestyle change than a diet. We understand that we can never go back to eating the way we used to, even after reaching our goal weight. Improving our eating habits has become a "family thing". I've changed the way I grocery shop and the way I cook. That in itself will promote better health in our family. Even for the skinny our "skinny" one. I will keep you posted on our progress. Remember, losing weight is a personal decision for each of us. If your teen really struggles, try to find a way to help. The old saying, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels" is so true. Now is the time to make some lifestyle changes that will benefit your teen for the rest of their life. Patricia Chadwick is a freelance writer and columnist in several online publications. E-mail her at patti@parentsandteens.com or visit her websites and sign up for her FREE weekly newsletters at www.historyswomen.com www.parentsandteens.com . Patti is also the author of "History's Women - The Unsung Heroines". Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconMom's Resolutions By Cheryl Gochnauer The beginning of a new year is a natural time to muse over fresh ideas andcommitments, and the homefront is a perfect place to start. For 2002, I'mresolving to take conscious steps to improve my relationship with my kids,my spouse, and myself. KIDS, I HEREBY RESOLVE TO... Catch your eye with a smile and a wink; to prove I love you everyday. Notice good stuff on your report card first, bad stuff second, and grade itall in perspective. Be affectionate with Daddy in your presence so you can learn how to treatyour own mate someday. I'll not hide minor disagreements, but will avoidbeing petty so you can learn how to work through conflict while maintaininganother person's dignity. Encourage you to spend time with your sibling, even if there is a gap inyour ages. We'll discover activities you can enjoy together, and I'll treatyou in such a manner that you'll realize you're both my favorite child. Resist trying to fix all your problems. Instead, I'll give insight onpossible actions you might take by asking you questions you can answeryourself. Treat you so you never doubt my love for you, even when I am discipliningyou. I will speak well of you in public, and never intentionally humiliateyou. Praise but not flatter you, and thereby build in you a fair sense of yourabilities. We'll work together to temper any perceived weaknesses, andpursue your known strengths so that, this time next year, you'll be thatmuch more rooted as you look toward future plans. FOR MY SPOUSE, I RESOLVE TO... Make time to freshen up, both physically and mentally, a half an hour beforewe get together after work each day. If that means putting on makeup in thecar, I'll do it! Monitor your nonverbal signals and avoid being "chatty" if you're not. I'lllet you finish your story of what happened at work, without interruptingwith my own day's crisis. Resist asking you to fix anything until after dessert. Unless it's leaking.Or smoking. Spend an evening each week talking alone with you, whether away from home orrelaxing while the kids are out at an activity or with a sitter. I'll alsoencourage you to carve out occasional getaways with each of our children,where they can have you all to themselves. Encourage you to develop close friendships with other men who share yourmoral values and treasure their families. Tell you everyday that I love you, and prove it in action and in word. Remember you'll be here long after the kids are gone, so our relationship isthe most important one under this roof. AND TO MYSELF, I HEREBY RESOLVE TO... Do what I can, and guiltlessly let the rest wait. I'll try to be content inwhatever circumstances I happen to be. Strive to be the best thing that happened in someone's life today. Keep everything in perspective and not over-react. Unless it's leaking. Orsmoking. Accept the love of family and friends, and reflect it right back. Plant happy memories in my children's thoughts, and water them daily withencouragement and humor. (Comments? Email Cheryl@homebodies.org or visit her parenting website at http://www.homebodies.org . Copyright 2000 Cheryl Gochnauer.) Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconShopping Seasonal Sales Raising teenagers can be very expensive. There are a lot of added expenses as your children grow up. Clothes are more expensive, there are added fees for extra-curricular activities, not to mention the socialevents that are a "must" for many teens. As frugal parents of teens, we need to learn to save money in different areas that will compensate for the extra money we will need to spend during the teenage years. One of the easiest ways to save money on many every day items is by shopping seasonal sales. You can save hundreds of dollars every year by planning your spending to take advantage of the rhythmic pattern of buying and selling. It is just as important to know when to buy as it isto know how and where. I suggest you get your teens involved in your seasonal shopping. Learning this skill will help them learn to live frugally as they move into adulthood. While local marketing conditions and each store's unique situation are reliable indicators of the frequency, time, and type of sales, and the amount of price reductions, the following sale calendar can help you get the most for your dollar when making purchases. January After-Christmas sales of Christmas merchandise, winter clothes, clothing, shoes, fur, handbags, toiletries, tablecloths, costume jewelry, furniture, toys, dishes, sports equipment, appliances. This is also the month that most stores feature a "White Sale", which includes most bedding such as sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and quilts. February Furniture, rugs, mattresses, curtains, bedding, china, glassware, silverware, housewares, radios and C.D. players, stereo equipment , and used cars. March Garden supplies, luggage, spring clothing, infant's wear, shoes, laundry appliances, luggage, skates, ski equipment, storm windows. April After-Easter sales for mostly clothes items including, men's and boy's suits, women's and children's coats, housecoats, and women's hats. May White sales, clean-up/fix-up supplies, blankets, women's undergarments, TV sets, handbags, sportswear, tires. June Women's ready-to-wear, TV sets, refrigerators, fabrics, summer clothes, dresses, building materials, lumber. July Shoes, summer clothes, bathing suits, lingerie, sportswear, home appliances, air conditioners, fuel oil, radios and stereo equipment, rugsand carpet, summer sports equipment, used cars. August Furniture, white sales, camping equipment, housewares, lamps, coats, tires, lawn mowers, sprinklers, yard tools, barbecue sets and tools, air conditioners, new cars, paints, school supplies, school clothes, bathing suits, fans. September Back-to-school supplies, housewares, bicycles, car batteries and mufflers, children's clothing, dishes, gardening equipment, glassware, hardware, lamps, paints, rugs and carpet, tools. October Fishing equipment, glassware, hosiery, housecoats, school clothes, school supplies, silverware, cars. November Coats, pre-Christmas items, quilts, shoes, boots, men's and boy's suits,kitchen appliances, water heaters. December Toys, gift items, coats, shoes, party items, quilts, used cars. The day after Christmas is Bargain Day all over. This excerpt was taken from the book: MISSION POSSIBLE: RAISING GREAT TEENS! By Patti Chadwick. It comes in three formats: ebook ($5.95),CD ($9.95), and print ($14.95). To place an order visit: https://www.wmsecure.com/%7Ehistoryg/securebookform.html Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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