Being a Better Parent

Respect the Rumble: Teaching Kids About Storm Safety

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With the start of summer 2011, storms are definitely on my brain these days, from the tornadoes that ravaged Joplin and other cities across the
U.S., to the severe storms that set off the emergency sirens in the Dallas area last week, to Hurricane Katrina—though it’s been almost six years since that tragedy, I was thinking about it
this past weekend as our family took a vacation to New Orleans.   It was interesting to hear about the stories of people who had the means to evacuate but chose not to.
  My friend who lives there told me that many people had weathered many hurricanes before, and felt like they could do the same again, and didn’t expect things to be as bad as
they were. But isn’t Mother Nature often full of surprises? A resident of Joplin was interviewed after their …

Random Thoughts

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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The TV show Cheers was a hit with audiences not only because of its great writing and acting, but we were also
attracted to the basic premise of the setting– a hang-out “where everybody knows your name”—and for a lot of us who don’t frequent a neighborhood bar, we secretly wished we could find that
kind of camaraderie and familiarity someplace.   Or, at least live in a town where all the clerks know your name—like the town of Mayberry (from “The Andy Griffith Show”), another TV
setting we Baby Boomers loved. At least, I did. Even though I was from a town of only 28,000, I always envied kids I knew from much smaller towns, and loved to visit them for a weekend. You’d
think that when I moved to friendly Texas, it wouldn’t be hard to experience a small town feeling no matter where I lived—but it really hasn’t happened for me. Well, …

Domestic Engineering

Ode to the Crock Pot

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One of the best wedding gifts my husband and I received 19 years ago this month was our Crock Pot. Still going strong (even though it’s stained
a bit on the outside and the plastic knob broke off of the switch several years ago), I wanted to give a shout out for this amazing appliance in the hopes that busy, stressed-out people might
start using a slow cooker (if they don’t already) and realize how great it is, too.   Finding good recipes to prepare in it has been a challenge over the years (with one
cookbook I tried, every recipe seemed to turn out like mush) but I’ve had a ton of success with Homemade Gourmet recipes and products (there are currently 206 slow cooker recipes at http://recipes.homemadegourmet.com/ ) and once in awhile I’ll also find a winner in a …

Being a Better Parent

From Setbacks to Comebacks: Helping Teens Deal With Disappointment

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All over town this past couple of weeks, you could almost hear the cries, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes
staggered. Cries of joy and cries of pain, as teens from area high schools looked at posted “results”  and found out if they made it into next year’s school teams/groups/leadership
positions—cheerleading squads, “elite” bands, the co-ed western dance team… drum majors, drill team officers, club presidents…and the cries weren’t just from the kids. Parents cried, too. “When we
found out she didn’t make it, we both boo-hooed together,” said one mom. “I’d put so much effort into driving her to extra practices, and doing whatever else she needed me to do to help, that I
felt like I’d lost, too.”  I could relate. When I found out Allison wasn’t on a particular list (while using the browser on my phone in the grocery store check-out line) I almost dropped my
bag of green …

Sharing Stories

A Bang-Up Time at Westminster Abbey

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What an experience it was. As I sat in my seat at Westminster Abbey, I almost pinched myself. I can’t believe I’m sitting here. I knew I’d
probably be sitting there for awhile, so I tried to drink it all in and memorize every detail…the soaring architecture, the sculptures, the paintings.   Was that Sarah
Ferguson, Duchess of York, sitting next to me? No, turns out it was a young advertising exec from north of London that looked very much like her—but she was friendly, and we struck up a
conversation. I wondered where my husband was sitting and wondered if we would be able to find each other when this was all over…we’d gotten separated when I took too long staring at
Elizabeth…

No, I didn’t get to attend the latest Royal Wedding, but watching the news and …