Premium Podcast Help Contact Dr. Laura Dr. Laura Designs Return to
Join Family Premium Login Family
Tip of the Week

Trust Your Heart
By The Love Goddess

Dear Love Goddess: I keep going outwith men who look great, have good jobs, etc., but who are really,really strange once they're in a relationship. I KNOW this is nottrue of all men, but of the men I'm choosing#133;.but is there a way ofspotting these guys? -Miserable Earth Girl

A. Dear Miserable Earth Girl: Spotting men unfit for human consumptionfrom afar by just looking at them? No. They do not, unfortunately, wearsigns saying, "I'm a loser and a creep." They can look reallygood. They can sound really good. They often, in fact, look and soundbetter than the really terrific guys do, because they've madeincredible adjustments to the fact that they ARE losers and creeps (andthey do know it; they've been told by untold numbers of women) and knowthey have something to hide. So they make an extra effort to look good,sound good, come on to you politely#151;and often aggressively-- seemincredibly interested, promise a good time, and so forth...all thethings they hope will ensure that you'll go out with them. But despitetheir camouflage, there are two sure ways to tell which men are likelyto turn out, as you put it, "really, really strange."

First, you really must trust your instincts. How do you feel whenyou're with him? Do you feel good#133;.or anxious? Do you have the sensethat you're really connecting#133;.or that you really want to butaren't? Does he seem too aggressive, too sure that you're the oneand only, too pushy about making a date? Pay attention to is inevitably right. Then, if you make a date, does he alwaysshow up late, leaving you a little miffed? Does he always expect you tocook? Does he bring wine, or offer to cook or take you out? Do you feela little on edge, or like a drag? Do you find yourself constantlywishing you (or he) were in a better mood?

Next, how do you feel between dates with him? Does he check in to sayhe had a nice time; to see when you'll meet again, or does he kind ofdisappear for days or weeks? Does it feel as if the relationship isgetting traction#133;.or do you a have the sense, each time you see him,that you're starting from square one? Does he disappear? Is his life asecret? Does he seem to want what you want in this relationship or doyou have the sense that you're always trying either to make him comecloser or to get him to back off somewhat? Does he seem to behaving trouble being involved with you#133;.as if it's not something thathe truly enjoys; not something he can keep up without being giveninstructions? Do you have the sense that he's peddling something ("I really want marriage and a family with a woman like you") that hecan't deliver ("I think I'm going to spend next year in Alaska"). Hashe been in a long-term relationship?
I know you can't answer all these questions, and my aim is not to haveyou drill him. I just know that the hardest thing to learn is to trustyour gut about someone. So listen to your inner voice, and then to goby what a man DOES, not what he says. It's so hard to resist thecompelling urge to make him become someone you want him to be when thesigns point to the fact that he never was and never will be. Thesigns, I believe, are inevitably there. But they're not visible on hisperson; they're telegraphed subtly, and can only be felt by you by yourown senses, your own heart.

Dalma Heyn, M.S.W., Founder of The Love Goddess, is the author ofseveral bestselling books on marriage and relationships. Dalma is awidely read columnist and sought-after speaker. She hasappeare--without her wings--on national talk shows including Oprah, The View, Charlie Rose, GoodMorning America, and Larry King Live. For more information or Permission granted foruse

More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, Conscience, Character-Courage-Conscience, Family/Relationships - Family, Parenting, Relatives, Values

Kid-Friendly Treat:Jewels in Snow
By Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers

Many believe that the gemstone garnet got its name from thepomegranate. The tiny arils of this fruit resemble the garnet'sdeep-red color and shape. This recipe mixes the deep-red arils intocottage cheese creating the look of garnets buried in a blanket ofsnow. Try this simple dish for breakfast. The jewel and snow fillingcan also be spread onto graham crackers or celery sticks for a crunchyafter school snack or meal time side dish.


frac12; cup small curd cottage cheese
2 tsp honey
2 Tbsp pomegranate arils
2 tsp ground pecans (optional)
2 slices whole grain toast

Directions: Combine the cottage cheese, honey and pomegranatearils in a small bowl. Spread the mixture over the toast. Slice thetoast into 4 triangles and sprinkle with ground pecans. Serve withapple or peach slices.

Note: Pomegranate arils are a choking hazard for children under 3 yearsold, so this recipe is best suited to children over this age.

Makes 2 servings.

About the authors: Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers aresisters, the mothers of five children and founders of Fresh Baby ( They are the creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit andGood Clean Fun Placemats, available at many fine specialty stores andnational chains including Target and Whole Foods Markets. Permissiongranted for use on

More >>

Tags: Adult Child-Parent, Family/Relationships - Adult Child/Parent, Relationships

Ditch the Negative Drama
By Winn Claybaugh

Years ago, a lovely woman who works for me made it almost a dailyritual to tell me all the negative drama and complaints from people atmy business. She truly believed she was doing me a favor, and I thinkshe thought it was a compliment that people brought her their problemsand complaints.

One day I asked her, "Why are you so available for this information?Why do so many people want to dump their negative drama onto you?"After a long conversation and a reminder about our company's veryeffective and positive system for expressing grievances, she finallyrealized she was not helpingthe individuals work out their problems, she was not bringing me information I coulduse, and she was instead bringing stress and bitterness upon herselfand her coworkers. This lovely woman is now no longer available fornegative gossip and drama.

To eliminate stress from your workplace, try these four ideas forreplacing stress-producing drama with fun, positive activities.

1. Create a "Caught Ya" board.Whenever a staff member sees a coworker doing something wonderful,they're encouraged to "write them up." A "Caught Ya!" message couldread something like, "To Derrick: Thanks for surprising me by cleaningup the stockroom." Keep preprinted "Caught Ya" cards near your boardand display it in the lunch area or break room where the "spoons"usually hang out-people who are back there stirring things up.

2.What's on your bulletin board? Take down anything negative andpost stories of hope and inspiration for everyone to see.

3.Devote time to a favorite charity. Doing something good forsomeone else brings your company together as a team and helpsindividuals step outside their own drama.

4.Give people something to laugh about! It's a medical fact thatstress can lead to ulcers and other unfavorable physical calamities.When people laugh and have fun, their bodies release endorphins-the ultimate "naturalhigh." Give your team a daily dose of healthfulness by making yourworkplace fun.

As a leader, you have choices in life. You can spend your day lookingfor problems, and guess what you'll find? Or you can spend your daylooking for reasons to celebrate your fellow team members. At the endof the day, you can go home feeling drained, exhausted, and bitterbecause of all the problems you discovered, or you can go home feelingenergized and grateful because you spent your day focusing on thingsthat empower both yourself and your team. The second choice makes you avisionary leader. Which type would you rather be?

Winn Claybaugh is the author ofBe Nice (Or Else!) and "one ofthe best motivational speakers in the country," according to CNN'sLarry King. A business owner for over 25 years with over 8,000 peoplein his organization, Winn is the co-owner of hair care giant PaulMitchell's school division. Winn has helped thousands of businessesbuild their brands and create successful working cultures. His clientsinclude Southwest Airlines, the Irvine Company, Vidal Sassoon,Entertainment Tonight, Mattel, ForRent magazine, Structure/Limited/Express, and others. Winn is afrequent guest on national radio and a regular contributor to onlinepublications. Visit to sign up for his free monthly Be Nice (Or Else!) newsletter. Permission granted for use

More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, Conscience, Character-Courage-Conscience, Family/Relationships - Children, Family/Relationships - Family, Morals, Ethics, Values, Parenting, Relatives, Values

TheGraduation Speech Your Kids Really Need To Hear
By Cliff Ennico

Members of the Class of 2009:

I was sorry to hear that the children's TV show hostwho was to have been your commencement speaker today had to bow out atthe last minute due to an attack of terminal cuteness. I wasdelighted, however, when the Trustees called me about an hour ago andasked me to fill in.

Now, I've never done this before, and I wasn't givena whole lot of guidance, except that I was told to tell you to "followyour dreams" and "reach for the stars", since there's a federal lawrequiring those statements to be included in all graduation speeches[pause for laughter].

While I know some of you already have jobs and some,OK most of you, do not, I know that all of you are wondering today whatyour lives are going to be like. I know I did when I sat in oneof these chairs back in 1975. Let me tell you something it'sgoing to be a lot different than you think it will be. As JohnLennon once said, "life is what happens to you when you're making otherplans."

I have two pieces of news for you, and neither ofthem are fun to talk about, but I feel they must be said, and no bettertime than today. First, whatever dreams most of you hope toaccomplish in your lives, you won't be able to achieve them until youhave achieved some measure of financial security for yourself and yourloved ones. Like many generations before you, unless you wereborn wealthy (and sometimes even then), finding and keeping thatfinancial security will be the primary, if not the only, thing you willspend time on for the next 50 years.

It gets worse. The second thing is that it hasnever been a more difficult time to make a decent living inAmerica. I'm not just talking about the collapsing banks,bankrupt auto companies, or global warming. I'm talking aboutsome mega-changes in our economy.

Many of the career paths your parents andgrandparents enjoyed working for large corporations are no longerthere. Oh, many of the corporations are still there, but they'vegot a different outlook than they did in my day. To them, peoplecost money, and you have to keep your costs as low as possible to stayalive. So if you can buy computers to do the work of lots ofpeople, you buy the computers and fire the people. If you musthire people to do a job, because no computer is good enough, you hirethe cheapest people you can in Asia and Latin America. And if youreally must hire Americans, you "outsource" them as independentcontractors rather than employees. That way you don't have to paytheir health insurance.

The Government won't be there to bail you outeither. Social Security, Medicare and other government programsthat helped your parents and grandparents either won't be there whenyou are ready for them, or they will be so scaled back that only themost poverty-stricken Americans will qualify for them. Hopefullythat won't include any of you [pause for murmuring/dodge vegetables].

And if you think you can scale back yourexpectations and work in a small, simple business, there's a massivewave of immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America who are only toowilling to take the jobs we Americans are too proud to take.

The terrible truth about your future, ladies andgentlemen, is that there is only one person you can rely on to help youbuild your future and success, and that is you. Sooner or later,you will find yourself running your own business, and you had betterstart preparing for that day now. It may happen next year, it maynot happen until you turn 50. It may be a part-time business,

Many of you, I'm sorry to say, are totallyunprepared for the challenge. While the American educationalsystem is still, for my money, the best in the world, the sad truth isthat most of you are totally clueless about what business isabout. Far, far too many of you, including even a few Phi BetaKappas and Rhodes Scholars, don't know the difference between revenueand profits, can't balance your checkbook, and couldn't tell thedifference between a balance sheet and an income statement if your lifedepended on it. To be successful in this brave new world, youwill have to learn how business really works on the job, with lots ofself-study, practical experience, and by making a few mistakes.

Now before you business students start thinking youhave a leg up over your liberal arts classmates, let me tell you thatyour education has been grossly deficient as well. You know a lotabout numbers and spreadsheets, but you don't know diddly about thehuman heart. Make no mistake to be a success in business, youmust be a keen observer of human nature above all else. To knowwhich customers are more willing to buy than others, and whenperceptions of your products and services are changing, is a lot morevaluable to a business than knowing the difference between "accountingprofit" and "economic profit".

What is probably worst of all, many of the best andbrightest of you have a dim view of business, period. Like manybefore you, you think you are too good for a business career, or thatone has to be unethical, greedy and unscrupulous to be a success. Sadly, it's hard to blame you for that, given all of the recentfinancial scandals, grossly overpaid executives and business' totaldisregard for the environment. But let me assure you that youdon't have to be ruthless, obnoxious, devious or even Republican tosucceed in business [pause for laughter/applause/murmuring/vegetables].

For those of you who think a business career isn'tchallenging, let me remind you that any activity that generates incomefor you and your family, is a business. If you are a collegeprofessor, getting published and being granted tenure is yourbusiness. If you work for a corporation, staying employed andimpressing the right people every day is your business. If youare an artist, creating works that you know will sell quickly (andpreferably have been paid for in advance) is your business. Whileit's admirable to look at what you do as a calling, if you neglect the"business side" of what you do, you are taking the first baby steps tofailure and ruin.

I have had the pleasure of working with over 15,000business owners in my career, and they are a more diverse group eventhan you are. They come from all walks of life andbackgrounds, and their personalities are all over the map. Contrary to what you may believe now, there is no such thing as a"success type". The beauty of this wonderful country ofours is that anyone - I mean anyone - can succeed in business with theright training, the right outlook on life, and the determination to dowhat others are too squeamish or hesitant to accomplish.

So by all means reach for the stars and follow yourdreams, for without faith, hope and passion your business will neversucceed, even if you're as smart as Einstein.

Just whatever you do, don't run out of money.

Cliff Ennico ( a syndicated columnist, author and former host of the PBS televisionseries 'Money Hunt'. This column is no substitute for legal, tax orfinancial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualifiedprofessional licensed in your state. To find out more about CliffEnnico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit ourWeb page at 2009 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE,INC. Permission granted for use on

More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, Conscience, Character-Courage-Conscience, Marriage, Morals, Ethics, Values, Values

Simple Avocado MangoSalad
By Cheryl Tallman


1 avocado, cubed
1/2 mango, cubed
1 graham cracker, crushed

Honey-Lime Dressing:
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1Tbsp Honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Prepare dressing: In small bowl, whisk all ingredients together.
Salad: Arrange avocado and mango cubes on a plate or bowl. Drizzle withdressing. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Serve.
Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of theaward-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the So Easy Baby Food Basics: Homemade BabyFood in Less Than 30 Minutes Per Week and So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips andSimple Recipes for the Toddler Years. Visit Cheryl online at for more delicious tips. Permission granted for use on

More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, Conscience, Character-Courage-Conscience, Family/Relationships - Children, Family/Relationships - Family, Men's Point of View, Morals, Ethics, Values, Parenting, Relatives, Values, Women's Point of View

Protect Your Medical Information
By John Sileo

Medical records are one-stop shopping for identity thieves. There is no need to slowly gather bits and pieces of someone's personal information - it's all packaged together: Social Security number, name, address, phone number, even payment accounts.

Crooks have received everything from medication to a liver transplant using a stolen identity. And that's only the tip of the iceberg! More than just medical treatment is at stake. Once a thief's medical information is entered into your records, it's extremely difficult to get rid of that information. It's conceivable, for example, that at a later date, you'll need a Type A blood transfusion but be given the thief's Type B with dire consequences.

Identity theft of medical records has more than doubled since 2008, as stated in Javelin's 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report. It's not difficult to imagine the misery that a million Americans have suffered during the past two years when their identities were stolen. And the Poneman Institute, in their National Study on Medical Identity Theft, states that another half million people loaned their insurance cards to uninsured family members and friends. The unsavvy lenders have incurred huge medical bills in this "friendly fraud."

Larry Ponemon says that, on average, it costs $20,000 to resolve a medical identity theft case. Unlike credit card companies,where the banks incur the losses, the victims often have to pay for the fraudulent care and sometimes lose their health insurance or have to pay higher premiums to restore their accounts. Even though there are HIPAA laws to protect your privacy, not all health care organizations have strict safeguards in place.

The risk goes even further: if someone is treated using your identity, your medical records will more than likely be altered and could compromise your treatment and ability to get service. According to Larry Ponemon, "stolen medical records offer a complete dossier to get a passport in a victim's name that could be used for terrorism."

Ways to Protect Yourself:
  • When you receive an Explanation of Benefits from insurers, read it carefully and save - don't throw it away even when it says "this is not a bill"! If a treatment date or doctor's name is not familiar to you, call the insurer and the billing physician to resolve.
  • If your wallet is stolen, contact your insurance company just as you would your credit card company. Don't carry your Medicare card in your wallet. Carry a photocopy and black out the last four digits of the SS#.
  • Urge your health care providers to ask patients for photo ID's.
  • Ask your doctors for copies of everything in your medical files, even if you have to pay for them.
  • Monitor your credit report. If you see medical billing errors, contact your insurer and the three credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
  • Avoid Internet and storefront offers of free treatment and supplies.
  • Ask for a list of benefits paid in your name and an "accounting of disclosures" which shows who got your records.
About the author: To further bulletproof yourself and your business, visit John's blog at To book John at your next event, visit John Sileo became America's leading Identity Theft Speaker Expert after he lost his business and more than $300,000 to identity theft and data breach. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer and the FDIC. Permission granted for use on

More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, Conscience, Character-Courage-Conscience, Morals, Ethics, Values, Parenting, Values

Four Secrets toSearching the National Archives
By Phil Stewart

Do you remember the last scene in the 1981 movie Raiders of the LostArk, when the wooden crate containing the Ark of the Covenant was movedinto that huge limitless warehouse for storage?

After recently completing a short very informal survey, that scene fromthe movie is what a majority folks think of when they are asked todescribe the U.S. National Archives. Scary, isn't it. Properly called the National Archives and Records Administration(NARA), located in Washington, D.C., the National Archives is thenation's record keeper. The latest estimates, nobody is sure ofthe exact total, show that the NARA has in its custody approximately:

billions (that's the official estimate) of machine-readable data sets.
9 billion pages of textualrecords.
20 million still photographs.
7.2 million maps, charts, andarchitectural drawings.
365,000 reels of motion picturefilm.
110,000 videotapes.

All of these materials arepreserved because they are important to the workings of the Government,have long-term research worth, or provide information of value to you -the U.S. citizen.

In an effort to allow enhanced access to many of these holdings, NARAdeveloped the online Archival Research Catalog (ARC). This is thelatest Web-based research tool that provides a portal to the contentand physical descriptions of all its archival holdings. Thestated goal is to have 95 percent of NARA's records input into ARC by2016. At this time, about two-thirds of the holdings have beenloaded into this digital super-catalog, but not all of these entrieshave comprehensive descriptions.

Obviously then, ARC is far from complete. It's dynamic, withcontent updates all the time. A subject that you researchone week may have no hits and then have hundreds the next time you do asearch. In addition, ARC is not as easy to use as your favoriteWeb browser, and it has been known to be rather obstinate. Itdoes not have as much "fuzzy logic" as I would think it should have,but maybe that will be part of the next software upgrade. The ARCmain webpage,,has much more detailed information for your review.

ARC Search Tips

Let's say you wanted to do some research on Charles Lindbergh, thefirst aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. If youload that term in the ARC search box on the webpage noted above, you'llend of with a list of 126 items. Before you start the laborious processof scanning each one of the listings, I would suggest you try theselittle known search tips.

1.After you get your first list of results, find and select the "RefineSearch" button near the top of the page. This will bring up the"Archival Descriptions Advanced Search" page. Set the "LimitResults" button to 2,000 to ensure that you get the greatest number ofhits during your refined search.
2. Now select the "HighlightSearch Terms" box. This will highlighted in yellow the matchingwords in your search criteria.
3. Scroll down the page until youfind a section called "Type of Archival Materials." You haveeight choices to pick from which will reduce the scope of thesubsequent search; and yes, you can check more than one. In thisexample, let's say you're interested in historical film footage ofLindy for that video production you're editing, so you'd deselect allthe types listed except for "Moving Images." This will narrow your nextset of search results to motion picture and video items.
4. Then click on the "Searchbutton" and you should find a list of 77 film titles for your review.

So, whatever you're looking for in the NARA, try using ARC to find it.If you use the four secrets mentioned above you'll have a better thanaverage chance of finding what you are looking for, if it exists in theracks and stacks of the National Archives.

Phil Stewart is aretired Air Force officer, specializing in the videoproduction. He then opened a video production company, worked asa television director, and currently manages a multimediafacility. Mr. Stewart volunteers as a motion picture filmresearcher for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. He'sauthored four books and three articles on the motionpicture films held within the National Archives. Visit for more information. Permissiongranted for use on

More >>

Tags: Marriage, Morals, Ethics, Values, Values

Frugal Winter Fun with Kids
Sara Noel

Winter is upon us. The kids get cabin fever quickly when their outside free time is limited. You're looking for some fun things to do before you all start climbing the walls. You don't need a wallet full of cash to enjoy the cold, snowy days. There are all kinds of frugal ways to enjoy the winter season together both indoors and outdoors. Here are a few frugal boredom busters to have as your 911 "plan" for the winter blahs.

Outdoor Fun
  1. Homemade Snowman Kit
    It's just not winter fun without building a snowman. Assemble a snowman kit to have handy. Your kit can contain the following:A hat, scarf, mittens, plastic carrot nose, charcoal briquettes, (place in plastic baggie) buttons, and can add two dowels or branches for arms.

  2. Obstacle Courses or Winter Olympics
    Jump over the mounds of snow or have relay races.

  3. Snow Paint
    Mix food coloring and water and add to spray water bottles and spray the snow to make colorful works of art outside.

  4. Homemade Bird Feeder and Bird Identification
    Need large pine cones, peanut butter, and birdseed. Add peanut butter to pine cones and roll in birdseed. Keep a journal of birds in your yard. Can borrow a field guide from your local library.

  5. Snow Ice Cream
    Mixing together a quart of milk, an egg, 1 cup sugar, frac14; teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract in a pan. Cook on stove top until mixtures thicken and cool to room temperature. Pour this mixture over fresh snow.


    3 cups loose clean snow
    2 Tablespoons milk
    frac14; cup sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    Mix all the ingredients.

  6. Snow Golf
    Use a tin can buried in the snow for the holes or just carve out holes in the snow.

  7. Winter Photography
    Take pictures of nature. Icicles, birds, trees, etc.

  8. Identify Tracks in the Snow
    Check out a book from your local library on animal tracks.
Indoor Fun
  1. Paper Snowflakes

  2. Paper Airplanes

  3. Make a Snow Gauge
    Mark inch lines on a coffee can or plastic liter bottle with the top cut off and setting it outside to catch snow in.

  4. Mister Grass Head
    Materials Needed:
    nylon knee stocking
    Grass Seeds
    Potting Soil
    Baby Food Jar
    Wiggle Eyes or glass paint/markers

    Using hosiery, place some grass seeds in the toe which is where you want the grass to grow. The hosiery is the head and the excess will be placed in the baby food jar to soak up water. The toe of the hose is the head and the grass will look like hair as it grows. The baby food jar is the body. Add some potting soil in the end of the hosiery on top of the seeds. Make sure the hosiery of seeds and soil is bigger than the opening of the baby food jar.

    Tie a knot in the hosiery to keep the seeds and soil in. Completely soak the soil/seed ball. Place the hosiery in a baby food jar filled with water making sure the head is above the mouth of the jar.Decorate the jar to look like Mister Grass Head's clothes and add a face onto the head.

  5. Smores
    Indoor Smores
    1/3 Cup light corn syrup
    1 Tablespoon. butter
    1 (12 oz.) package chocolate chips
    4 cups honey graham cereal
    1 frac12; cups miniature marshmallows
    Bring corn syrup and butter to boil. Lower heat and add chocolate.Stir until chocolate melts. Add cereal and marshmallows and stir. Put in square pan, covered with foil. Let set and cut into bars.

  6. Shadow Drawing
    Take brown grocery bags and tape together until you have enough paper to be the same size as your child. Have your child lie down on the paper bags and trace your child's outline. Your child can then color her "shadow" drawing to look anyway she wants.

  7. Homemade Toys
    Decorate a paper towel tube. Paper punch a hole about an inch from the end. Now tie a mason jar ring to a piece of string about one foot long. Attach and tie the loose end of the string through the hole in the cardboard tube. Hold the tube and flip the ring up and try to catch it onto the tube.


    Try taking a plastic, Styrofoam, or paper cup and poking a small hole in the bottom, running a piece of yarn through and tying it securely in place and adding a large button on the loose end. Catch the button in the cup.

  8. Bubbles in the Bathtub
    How fun to blow bubbles indoors. Here are some homemade recipes:

  9. Homemade Bowling
    Use empty water bottles or coffee creamer containers as the pins and find a spare ball to roll.

  10. Indoor Snowball Fight
    Wad up newspaper balls and have a snowball war inside.

  11. Homemade Hot Cocoa
    Nothing beats the winter chills away after a day of snow fun outdoors than hot cocoa. Make your own with this recipe.
    2 Cups nonfat dry milk
    1 Cup white sugar
    frac12; Cup cocoa
    frac12; Cup non-dairy creamer
    1 pinch of salt
    Miniature marshmallows

    Combine ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Add4 tablespoons of mix to a mug and add boiling water. Stir.

  12. Window Fun
    Crayola Window Writers are a product that writes and easily washes off of windows. Can also purchase spray snow for windows.
Sara Noel is a freelance writer and the Editor/Publisher of, and Visit these sites for information on getting back to basics through frugality, gardening, organizing, home keeping, lost arts, simplicity, homesteading, and natural family living. Permission granted for use on

More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - Children, Military, Parenting, Values

Purchasing andPreparing Lamb:
The Basics You Need To Know
Provided by theAmerican Lamb Board

The family is coming over for a festive spring dinner but you don'twant to serve yet another casserole#133;How about Lamb? It seems soelegant, but it really is easy, especially if you are armed with thebasics.

What To Look For When Purchasing Lamb:

Lamb is widely available in grocery stores and gourmet food retailersacross the country. When shopping, look for American Lamb as ittypically yields more meat on the bone than imported lamb. Also, mostAmerican lamb is fed mixed grains and grasses giving the meat a milderflavor than its European counterparts. When shopping for a cut, lookfor meat that has a soft pink to red coloring with white marbling.

How to Store/Freeze Lamb:

Fresh lamb should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer immediatelyafter purchasing. Refrigerate fresh lamb at 40 degrees Fahrenheit orbelow. Ground lamb or stew meat should be used within 2 days. Lambchops and roasts should be used within 3 to 5 days. If you plan tofreeze lamb for long periods of time, be sure to wrap the originalpackaging with airtight freezer wrap or place in an airtight freezerbag to prevent freezer burn. To maintain optimum quality, frozen lambshould be used within 3 to 4 months.

How to Thaw Frozen Lamb:
  • In the refrigerator - oncefrozen lamb has thawed in the refrigerator, lamb roasts and chopsshould be used within 3 to 5 days and ground lamb or stew meat shouldbe used within 1 to 2 days.
  • In cold water - leave frozenlamb in its packaging, making sure it is air tight. If not, transfer itto a leak-proof bag. Keep the lamb submerged in cold water, changingthe water every 30 minutes to continue thawing. Cook lamb immediatelyafter thawing. It should not be re-frozen unless cooked first.
  • In the microwave - As withthe cold water method, when frozen lamb is thawed in the microwave, itmust be cooked immediately. It should not be re-frozen unless cookedfirst.
  • For those that don't have alot of experience cooking with lamb, determining when it is done is thebiggest challenge. An overcooked rack of lamb is an expensive mistakeand carving into an undercooked roast can be an embarrassment at adinner party. Don't rely on guesswork - a good meat thermometer willprovide reliable results. DO NOT cut into a roast or chop to checkdoneness. Use an instant read thermometer to give you a quick, accuratereading.
  • Lamb, like any cut of meat,always benefits from rest before serving - the rest allows the meat'sjuices to settle. Give thin cuts like chops five minutes before servingand allow 20 minutes before carving roasts. Keep in mind, as the meatrests, its internal temperature typically rises 5 to 10 degrees. Removelamb from cooking heat when the thermometer reads 5 to 10 degrees lessthan your desired temperature.
  • To ensure lamb remains safethroughout cooking, the USDA makes recommendations for safe cookingtemperatures.
For recipes and approximatecooking times for use in meal planning, visit Permission granted for use on

More >>

Tags: Adult Child-Parent, Character, Courage, Conscience, Character-Courage-Conscience, Dating, Family/Relationships - Adult Child/Parent, Marriage, Morals, Ethics, Values, Parenting, Regarding Dr. Laura, Values

Five Ways to FeelEmpowered During Challenging Times
By Anne Mattos-Leedom

Times are tough. Everyone isstruggling one way or another. Perhaps you are being beaten down by theeconomy. You may be watching everything you have built over the yearsslip away. Or you could be one of the millions today who live inconstant fear as you hang on by just a small thread every day.

There is a trickle affect this challenging economy brings to our lives.Relationships with our partners become more stressed as money becomestight and depression and stress fill the air. We can't provide the besteducation and other opportunities for our children and we may be facinga retirement in which we will still be working long after we had hopedto slow down.

All of these fears and stresses add up to an ongoing dread that peopleare facing every day, and in many cases it brings a loss of hope aboutthe future that many have never faced before. Coping with thisemotional trauma is the most important priority we all face. When weare depressed and frightened it is hard to be effective in any part ofour lives. Here are five strategies to help you cope and find strengthduring these challenging times.
  1. Surround yourself with positive people.This is getting harder and harder to do, granted, However, there arepeople who, in spite of their circumstances, forge ahead and find waysto approach each day with optimism and excitement. You may have fewerfriends if you follow this strategy, but the ones you have will liftyou up and motivate you daily.
  2. Do something you love everyday. Forme, I couldn't cope without my music. Going for a drive each morningand listening to music fills my soul, reminds me what I care about andgives me the motivation I need to pursue my life every day with focusand enthusiasm.
  3. Stay organized. When things getdifficult it is very easy to lose track of everything. Time, paperwork,schedules, appointments and even people all seem to fall into a blackhole, simply adding to our frustration. Don't let chaos become your newbest friend. Stay clear and keep your life, professionally andpersonally organized. Nothing is more draining than spending hourstrying to find something essential that has been misplaced, orreestablish connections that have been damaged due to living our livesin havoc.
  4. Get Up and Move. While exercise isideal and essential at all times, during emotional stress it is moreimportant than ever to move our bodies. Research is clear that movingyour body releases chemicals that make it easier to cope with stress.Work with your circumstances, not against them. A simple walk or a gameof Wii can work wonders to keep your mood up.
  5. Give Yourself a Break. It really isok that things are not going as you had planned in life. Your financesand circumstances may have changed drastically, but if you can find theopportunities in the darkness, you may discover a new life you willlove even more. Relationships do change, but they can change for thebetter. Most challenges bring wonderful new choices. If you allowyourself to let go of what has happened and give yourself permission tolook for a new and different life, you may find that everything IShappening for a reason. You will see that it all really will be ok inthe long run.
We can't control the journey butwe can always control how we experience the journey.

Anne Mattos-Leedom is theFounder of, a premier online placement agency forexperts and authors. She is also the publisher of,a national parenting website for raising kids who care. She lives inNorthern California.Permissiongranted foruse

More >>

Tags: Adult Child-Parent, Family/Relationships - Adult Child/Parent, Relationships