1. Your Children Know You Love Them, Right?

    Ideas to Show You Care About Your Child

    Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for love, but the other 364 days are great for that, too. As a parent, you have the double-duty of wanting to make your spouse and your kids feel special – and all the more so on Valentine’s Day.

    To embrace your kids with Valentine’s love, try these three powerful ideas that will leave no doubt they’re the apple of your eye.

    • The power of kind words
    Despite what’s said about “sticks and stones”, words can have a huge impact on how children see themselves. Think about the potentially negative impact of a phrase such as, “You are always doing stupid things!” Or, “You act more like a baby than your little sister.” We all know that raising a child can be frustrating (our words sometimes reflect that frustration), but let this Valentine’s Day serve as a reminder of the positive power of our words. Make a commitment to use your words to develop your children’s self-esteem. Praise their accomplishments, no matter how small. Let them know you’re proud, for example, of the A+ they got on their spelling test or the improvement they’re making in whichever subject. Talk about the beautiful colors they used in their drawings. Tell them how excited you are to see them when they arrive home from school.

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    Categories: General Interest
  2. How the World Celebrates in December

    Holiday Celeberations in DecemberDecember is filled with festivities and celebrations worldwide.  Here’s how various people around the world enjoy this glorious month:

    Chanukah

    For eight days in December, this year starting December 21, Jewish people around the world celebrate Chanukah, the “festival of lights.” They light a menorah – a special candleholder – in remembrance of an ancient miracle in which one-day’s worth of oil burned for eight days in their temple. As part of the celebration, they eat potato pancakes called latkes, sing songs, and spin a top called a dreidel to win “gelt” – chocolate coins.

    St. Lucia Day

    December 13 is St. Lucia Day, a holiday that celebrates this third-Century saint, in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, Bavaria, Italy, Malta, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovakia and St. Lucia, West Indies. Many girls dress up as “Lucia brides” in long white gowns with red sashes, and wear a wreath of lighted candles on their heads. They sing songs and offer coffee to their family, along with twisted saffron buns called “Lucia cats.” 

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    Categories: General Interest
  3. Happy Thanksgiving Quiz!

    Thanksgiving Family Holiday

    Before you begin reading the articles in our Blog about Thanksgiving, take a moment to see how much you know about  the holiday. Here are 5 questions to test your knowledge:

     

    1. Which U.S. President officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving?
    2. The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in what year – 1911, 1920 or 1939?
    3. The average weight of a turkey purchased for Thanksgiving is how many pounds – 15, 17 or 19?
    4. The holiday shopping season traditionally begins on the day after Thanksgiving. What is the name of that day?
    5. What percentage of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day – 71, 81 or 91 percent?

    And let’s ask one more question: Who can have a happier, healthier and truly thankful Thanksgiving by reading the articles in our Blog?

    Answers:

    1. Abraham Lincoln
    2. 1920
    3. 15
    4. Black Friday
    5. 91
    6. You
  4. Let Your Little Ones Lend a Hand This Thanksgiving (Without Worrying They’ll Make a Big Mess)

    Thanksgiving Activities for ChildrenFor some parents, it’s difficult to hand over tasks to their young children, especially if it involves food and drinks.  It’s not that the parents are “control freaks”; they just know that kids aren’t always careful, which can lead to mistakes and messes, spills and stains.  And that means the parents spend less time fixing dinner and more time fixing problems.

    Thankfully, there are lots of ways to get children involved in Thanksgiving preparations without having to worry about big messes.  Here is a sampling of ideas:

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    Categories: General Interest
  5. Dining in for Father’s Day? Celebrating From Your Home? Simple Ways to Make it Special.

    For some families, celebrating Father’s Day is all about dinner at a restaurant. Other families like to stay in and show dad a good time from the comfort of their own home. No matter which type of celebration you prefer, we’re here to help you make dad’s special day just that…special.

    Out and About

    It’s safe to say that dining out with children is never as relaxing as it was before you had kids. But there are ways to make your dining experience—especially one as important as Father’s Day—a bit more enjoyable. Here are just a few ideas:

    1.    Go to places that are family friendly. It may seem obvious, but taking young kids to a restaurant known for its romantic ambience isn’t a good idea for you or the other guests. You’ll probably spend the entire meal trying to keep your son or daughter quiet. That’s definitely not a great way to spend Father’s Day. Instead, try to find a place that’s a little noisy and doesn’t mind a mess on the table. You’ll be more relaxed—and happy—knowing your kids can be kids.

    2.    Beat the dinner rush. Since most people go out to eat after 6 p.m.—especially on weekends—make a point of arriving at the restaurant around 5 p.m. If you think the restaurant still might be crowded at that time, be sure to make reservations. You won’t wait as long to be seated and you’ll get your food quicker. And when kids are involved, you usually only have about a half hour before they start to get antsy.

    3.    Bring your own entertainment. Most family friendly restaurants offer crayons and placemats to keep kids occupied, but it’s also a good idea to bring some of your son or daughter’s favorite toys. Or, let your older kids play games on your cell phone. Games like Hangman can actually be fun for the whole family.

    4.    No snacking before going to the restaurant. If your kids ask for a snack before you go out, don’t give in! They may complain about being hungry, but that’s a good thing. After all, you’re going to the restaurant to eat.

    The Inside Scoop

    For the family that likes to stay home on Father’s Day, there are many ways to have fun with dad. These ideas might work for your family:

    • Host your own concert. Set up a pretend stage, get a hairbrush to use as a microphone, put up some folding chairs for your audience, turn down the lights and shine a bright flashlight on the singer. Then take turns singing your favorite songs. Be sure to cheer loudest for dad, since it’s his special day.
    • Host a movie night. Don’t just rent a movie and sit on the couch. Go all out to make it just like a night at the theater. Hand out tickets, set up a concession stand with fresh-popped popcorn and boxed candy, and turn down all the lights. Even though it’s dad’s day, try to pick a movie that the whole family can enjoy.
    • Look at old pictures and videos. Kids love seeing old photos of themselves and watching videos from when they were younger. If you have your photos in a box, bring it to the center of the room so everyone can sit around it. Or, if all your images are in digital form, create a slideshow on your computer. For videos, the best approach is to hook up the camera to your TV. That way, everyone will be able to see the show without having to huddle around a tiny camcorder screen.

    No matter how you choose to spend your Father’s Day—at a restaurant or in your home—don’t forget to tell dad just how much you love and appreciate him. That’s probably what he wants most anyway.

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    Categories: General Interest